An Analysis of Male Behavior Towards the Women of T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “Greasy Lake”
Written as part of a short story collection, author T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “Greasy Lake” presents itself as a climactic account of one night in a less than savory young man’s life. Upon closer inspection “Greasy Lake” reveals a complex series of foreboding events that incorporate the innocence and ignorance males have when presented with different social scenarios and the female gender. Through his masterful use of the protagonists internal dialogue, Boyle’s artistry shows an evolving dynamic of indifference, aggression, and intimidation towards and by the women of “Greasy Lake”.
Boyle introduces females and their relative insignificance during the narrator’s exposition on what he, Jeff, and Digby are looking for when they travel to the lake. “We went up to the lake because everyone went there, because we wanted to snuff the rich scent of possibility on the breeze, watch a girl take off her clothes and plunge into the festering murk, drink beer, smoke pot, howl at the stars, savor the incongruous full-throated roar of rock and roll against the primeval susurrus of frogs and crickets” (Boyle 294). By grouping his objectification of females with other relatively mundane aspects of why the boys travel to the lake, Boyle makes the prospect of the female as irrelevant and routine as crickets chirping. Through the use of a recurring theme, another haphazard mention of females is made by the narrator when he explains they “debated going to a party of a girl Jeff’s sister knew” (Boyle 295). The young men opted to throw eggs at mailboxes and hitchhikers rather than meet up with the females, once again undermining the importance of ...
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...ure. The boys are essentially pinned the same way the young woman they intended to rape was, by little more than the outstretched hand of an older more authoritative female in the light of day.
The rising feminine tide in this masculine short story reveals Boyle’s ability to convey insignificance, mounting interest turned aggression, and the emergence of female power through his protagonist narrator. Unravelling the male teenage mind as it pertains to females may never be an easy task, but Boyle’s intricate placement of narrative dialogue, or the lack thereof, aids the reader in a better understanding of the role the unlucky women in “Greasy Lake” play.
Boyle, T. Coraghessan. "Greasy Lake." X. J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia. Backpack Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. Joe Terry. Pearson, 2012. Text. 28 January 2014.
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