Essay about Symbolism in Greasy Lake

750 Words Jul 22nd, 2001 3 Pages
"Greasy Lake"
"Greasy Lake" by Tom Coraghessan Boyle, is the story of a group of adolescents, searching for the one situation that will proclaim them as bad boys and how their minds change. As the story begins, the narrator gives the impression that he feels he and the others boys should have taken notice of some obvious clues about themselves. These clues would have led them to the conclusion that they were far from the bad guys they wished to be. However, the oblivious teenagers ignore these obvious signs and continue in search of their goal.
In this story, Boyle uses many symbols to create the theme. The individual vehicles are each symbols in the portion of the story that they appear. For example, early in the story, the narrator
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Standing there he realizes what becomes of "tough-guys" and discovers that he has found his salvation within his true self. Accordingly, as the narrator emerges from Greasy Lake, he is a new person with a newly discovered perspective. As the sun is rising and the songs of birds replace the sounds of crickets, he leaves the pool of once dismal waters (Boyle 118). This signals his rebirth and his baptism as a reformed adolescent.
The narrator shares this story from his youth in the words of an educated man. His actions as a teen are in stark contrast to his phraseology as an adult. Early in the story, he viewed "nature" as sex, drugs and rock and roll (Boyle 112-113). However, as the story ends and the turmoil subsides, the narrator sees nature for the first time, through the eyes of a person matured by this traumatic experience. The "sun firing buds and opening blossoms" replaced the once revered beer and smoke (Boyle 118).
At the conclusion of this story, the girl from the Mustang comments to the narrator and his friends that they look like "some pretty bad characters" (Boyle 119). Upon hearing this statement they finally, as a group, realized that being a tough-guy requires much more than just looking like one. Accordingly, the fate of most tough-guys is similar to that of the floating biker. As if to confirm their transformation, the narrator and his friends, who earlier would have jumped at the opportunity, turn

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