Theme Analysis on Greasy Lake

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Adriana Garcia
January 29, 2013
ENC 1102

Analysis of the Theme in TC Boyle’s Greasy Lake

The theme in T.C. Boyle’s “Greasy Lake” is demonstrated when the narrator and his friends learn a potentially deadly lesson through a series of accidents, caused as a result of their reckless pursuit to be bad. The nature of life reveals to them that striving to be bad in order to be viewed as hip or cool can often result in dark accidents, with catastrophic consequences. In the beginning of the story, three adolescent boys believe themselves to be “dangerous characters” (Boyle, 131) and that “it was good to be bad, when you cultivated decadence like a taste” (130). However, they learn painful lessons during summer vacation that reveal there will be a price to pay in trying to appear bad. They will be forced to question whether or not they are as bad as they think. The potential that there is someone worse than you needs to always be appreciated. Questions of limits and how far they must be willing to go to survive, regardless of the consequences, is a test that will be given. Being teenagers they romanticize about being bad. Staggering around town they are seen wearing torn-up leather jackets, drinking alcohol, doing drugs and striking poses to show that they do not care about anyone or anything. The narrator himself believes his friends to be dangerous because they were quick, slick, and could do something like drive “a Ford with lousy shocks over a rutted and gutted blacktop road at eighty-five while rolling a joint as compact as a Tootsie Roll Pop stick”(131). It was the third night of summer vacation when the narrator and his two friends, Digby and Jeff, wanted to show their town that they are cool. “Looking for something they never found” (131) the previous two nights, left the boys searching for action, excitement, and itching to cause trouble. It was natural for them to indulge in their desires as they howled at the stars, cranked the music to...
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