Greasy Lake Symbolism

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Greasy Lake by T.C. Boyle is about three teen boys considering their selves to be “dangerous characters”, realizing, after a catastrophic chain of events, that they may not want to be quite as bad as they think. The boys go out looking for adventure and end up running into trouble when they get to greasy lake. Thinking that the blue ’57 belongs to Tony, they pull up to the car and honk only to find out it is a “bad greasy character” that does not think their little trick is funny. As the narrator gets out of his car, he drops his keys on the ground. It is two o’clock in the morning and dark outside. He says, “My first mistake, the one that opened the floodgates, was losing my grip on the keys”. They could have escaped the trouble they were in if the keys were with him. Fleeing, after hitting the greasy guy over the head with the tire iron, he swims through the murky lake where he is getting tangled in moss and encounters a dead biker floating in the water. The author is proposing that society’s view on rebels is glorified. A subtheme is the corruption of teens from peer pressure is and has been a problem for society.

The narrator starts the story saying that he and his two friends are “bad characters”. Trying to sound bad he say “When we wheeled our parents' whining station wagons out into the street we left a patch of rubber half a block long” which is not a real “bad” car, which means that in reality they are not particularly rebellious. He wants to be a rebel which some might say is corrupt and in describing greasy lake it can be compared to the youth, something that was once pure, now polluted with beer cans, contraceptives and drugs. He describes the road as a “black unbroken wall”, painting a picture for the reader of not only the journey they are about to embark on, but also that it is going to be a dreaded one.

“It was early June” speaks of the adolescence of teens, explaining their immaturity "the air, soft as a hand on your cheek, the third night...
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