Adolescenthood In T. Coraghessan Boyle's Greasy Lake
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There is a saying that goes: “having a teenager in the house is like having an infant and an adult as the same time." In T. Coraghessan Boyle’s story, Greasy Lake, the narrator and his friends, Digby and Jeff, are 19 year old boys. The narrator uses intelligent and amusing words to describe his adolescenthood. He and his two friends are on their summer break. They proudly call themselves “bad characters” to impress other teenagers. At first, the narrator really tries to make the readers think that he and his two friends are bad guys: "We wore torn up leather jackets, slouched around with toothpicks in our mouths, sniffed glue and ether and what somebody claimed was cocaine" (Boyle). They go out at night to look for action and girls. However, throughout the story, the narrator makes the readers realize that they are just naive teenage boys. The narrator tells of a specifically threatening night when they experience the unexpected and fight with a truly bad character, try to rape a girl, and see a corpse. The narrator and his friends' immature action causes them to experience and learn a painful, memorable lesson. Boyle’s message to the readers is that the immaturity of adolescence is universal and experimentation results in maturity.
Everywhere, in the past or the present, most adolescents’ actions are similar to this story. Most of them try to experience things that others adolescents experience. At the start of the story, the narrator mentions “…We were all dangerous characters then” (Boyle). The narrator and his friends do what the other teenagers do at that period in time. “We went up to the lake because everyone went there, watch girl take off her clothes .., drink beer, smoke pot,..” (Boyle). The narrator and his ...
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... One of the women offers them drug but they reject it which they would accept the invitation before all of the incident. When the women says that the narrator and his two friends seem “ pretty bad characters”, the narrator just wants to cry. They finally get the acceptance into the world of being “bad guys” however, they want to run away from it. Boyle also tells the story in such transitional form, from night to day, from water to land to express the change of the three teenage characters which is from naive to mature.
Boyle’s message to us was clearly interpreted. He shows us the universal adolescent’ problems which are the immaturity, the anger of experiment new things, and how they learn from it to become maturity. He nicely uses interesting and amusing language to develop the readers’ imagination and help them to understand the story easily.