“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 describes the car they drive to Greasy Lake as an old station wagon, obviously not the “ride” of a true tough-guy. When the boys arrive at Greasy Lake, a “chopper” is parked on the shore, and next to it is a 57 Chevy (Boyle 113). Both of the vehicles are hotrods that imply a “greasy” image. The Chevy owner is a tough muscular character who beats the stuff out of the narrator and his friends. The biker, whom is regarded as a bad older character, is dangerous by stereotype alone. Consequently, the vehicles are representative of the individuals who drove them. Another symbol of the danger the young men face is Greasy Lake itself. Dark, murky cold and disquieting, every aspect of it spells danger. Its glass-strewn sho...
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