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Analysis of the Theme in TC Boyle's Greasy Lake

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The nature of life reveals, through its dark accidents, the limitations on being bad in order to be viewed as hip or cool and that there always will be someone who is worse than you. This is the lesson that the narrator learns in T.C. Boyle's "Greasy Lake" through a series of accidents as a result of his recklessness. The narrator, in the beginning of the story, believed himself and his friends to be dangerous characters and that "it was good to be bad, when you cultivated decadence like a taste." However, painful lessons were learned that reveals to the narrator that there will be a price to pay in trying to appear bad. It also goes to show him that there are limits to how far he is willing to go and not care about the consequences.

It was the third night of summer vacation and the narrator and his two friends, Digby and Jeff, wanted to show the world that they were misfits. That they were ready to cut loose and indulge in their hedonistic desires because it was hip to be reckless, uninhibited, and rotten. They were restless and bored, cruising around with the headlights pointed at the dawn and having all the time in the world and nothing to do with it. They were cruising around looking for action and excitement, "looking for something they never found", and looking for a way to scratch an itch that they couldn't scratch since the beginning of the summer. And in their minds, having fun was synonymous with being bad.

It was good to be bad; it was something that made them hip and cool. They were bad characters indeed, except that their idea of what it is to be a bad person seems to be very much romanticized. It was as if they grew up watching "National Lampoon's Animal House&...


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...ut anything, he would have taken up the girls offer to party with them. However, after that night, he finds that there are some things he does care about, like his own well being. Instead of staying around to find out what will happen, he chooses to leave for home and quite possibly never allowed to drive his mother's car again. But at least he'll be able to go home alive, by choosing not to tempt fate further.

The story carries a certain message behind the narrator's plight. The story shows the narrator to be suffering the consequences of his actions and that he could be far worse off for something less. When it came down to it, he finds that trying to prove himself as a bad ass resulted in getting him nowhere. He had his limits and that night he found them and nature has shown him that there will always be some greasy character willing to do worse.



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