Victims of circumstance, or just unruly adolescents? Or maybe a little bit of both? The young men in T. Coraghessan Boyle's short story "Greasy Lake" were out looking for a good time, but in the end received much more than they bargained for--a near murder, attempted rape, and stumbling across a decaying corpse; just to name a few of their encounters. When taking into consideration all the components which made up the situations, it is easy to understand the peril the boys come across that night. Their lack of responsibility, surroundings, and desires all play a major part in their misadventure.
These three young men lacked responsibility and wise decision-making qualities. Granted, they are only nineteen, but that is part of being young; making bad choices and learning from them along the way. In the story it is the third day of summer vacation, and the boys haven't got a care in the world. The previous two nights they had ."..been out till dawn, looking for something [they] never found" (145). Usually boys this age have jobs during the summer to save up money for a car, gas, or even their college tuition. They didn't have to worry about anything like that--the narrator drove his mother's Bel Air, Digby's father paid his way to Cornell, and Jeff was thinking about quitting school altogether. From what the reader can gather, they are pretty much spoiled. As for their choices on what to do, they also show their need of maturity. Getting a high from anything they could find was their idea of fun. They ."..sniffed glue and ether and what somebody claimed was cocaine" (144). Obviously they were not the brightest characters. The misuse of such substances can be seriously hazardous and harmf...
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...he heat of the moment it is easy to be caught up by our desires, no matter how appalling, and carried away.
Remember, with all bad comes good. That is the beauty of mistakes; we learn from them then go on. At the end of the night the boys realize they are not as bad as they thought, and they just want to go home. Many times we create the circumstance which sets us up for a major fall. With all things considered the actions of the boys on this night are understandable, but that does not make them acceptable. We need to analyze a situation before we let ourselves so easily fall into it, and take responsibility of any repercussions which may occur.
Boyle, T. Coraghessan. "Greasy Lake."
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 9th ed. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson-Longman, 2005. 143-151.
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