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Greasy Lake

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The Rebel's Nature

When you are an adolescent, your curiosity runs wild. Rebellion was the first step towards dealing with the stress of supply and demand that the real world expected from the futures of the youth. Whether it's hassling the authorities just to impress your friends or the thrill of getting your hands on age illegal paraphernalia, your youthful instincts could care less about anything else. Tom Coraghessan Boyle cultivates this experience in his short story "Greasy Lake". Greasy Lake was a place for a teenager to taste his first beer, puff the freshly rolled marijuana cigerette, and if he's lucky, experience his first sexual encounter with a girl. According to Boyle, "this was nature". Nature literately refers to the essential phenomena that make life progress. According to the teenagers in the story, nature was an experience away from home, whether it is good or bad. Boyle's description of the Greasy Lake did not seem to appealing to me. It was very rugged, dirty, and swamp like. Greasy Lake represented a sanctuary for rebels. Boyle states, "There was a time when courtesy and winning ways went out of style..." which referred to a moment in life where success and politically correctness were no longer a consideration. I must say that I do miss those days where I didn't have to worry how I am going to make it in this world.

T.C. Boyle illustrated three "bad characters" that all seemed to be well brought up by their parents. Digby, whose father paid the tuition of his schooling, and Jeff, who wrestled between continuing school or fulfilling his own self-interests, were the "bad characters" of the story. My first impression of these two bad characters was that they were a large influence in the narrator's life. When you are a teenager it seems as if your peers raise you more than your own parents. In the narrator's eyes, Digby and Jeff were the coolest kids in town. They were clever, drove muscle cars, and rolled up the tightest blunts. In a teenager's mind these intimidating attributes, according to Boyle, cultivated a time "when it was good to be bad". I found it interesting that the narrator's name was never mentioned. I felt that it was Boyle's way of creating a role for the reader in the story.

As the story progresses, Boyle's notion of "nature" changes once the bad characters find themselves fleeing from an unknown "greasy character". The greasy character was having sex with his girlfriend until a pack of peeping toms disturbed his concentration. The bad characters found themselves mistakenly peeping at the wrong person. It was funny that these so-called "rebellious" kids would run from anybody. By showing their run-for-dear-life, Boyle crushes the characters'



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