Sudden and Ironic events that happen to the narrator in T.C. Boyle’s short story “Greasy Lake” are the same type of events that in an instant will change a person forever. The ironic circumstances that the narrator in “Greasy Lake” finds himself in are the same circumstances that young people find themselves in when fighting war.
The viewpoint of the world that the narrator has, completely alters as certain events take place throughout the story. His outlook on nature transforms into a wholly different standpoint as the story progresses. As his tale begins, the narrator sees himself as a tough guy or “bad character”. He believes he is invincible. There is nobody as cool as he is or as dangerous as him and his friends are. With his followers, the narrator goes to Greasy Lake, he takes in the nature that surrounds him. He thinks of himself to be a kid who knows everything. To him, the lake represents a night of misbehavior and partying. The unhealthy, treacherous atmosphere of Greasy Lake is alluring, fun, and exciting to someone as threatening as he is. “We went up to the lake because everyone went there, because we wanted to snuff the rich sent 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. This was nature.” This quote gives a clear idea of what the narrators perception of what not only nature is, but of what the world is. He lives to have fun. He is fearless and lives for the moment. All that life is to him is sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
His observations of surrounding nature changes after a few ironic incidents occur. The role he plays reverses itself and he finds that he is merely a scared child who is lost and alone in a big scary world. While at Greasy Lake, he is involved in a terrible fight where he almost kills another person, and attempts the heinous crime of rape onto an innocent girl. As he begins to gang rape an innocent victim he is forced to run for his own safety when more people show up at the scene. Ironically, within minutes he converts from being the bad guy, forcing himself on an unwilling victim, to becoming a scared kid hiding in the woods from attackers. While...
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...but scared children who are alone and lost in the world, the kids who fought battle in Vietnam went to war thinking they knew all of the answers and somewhere in the middle of it all they realized that they are scared kids who don’t understand what is going on the world around them. They wish only to be in the safety of their mothers home. Everything in the story symbolizes and relates to the truth in war, attitude and actions that cause war are the same that take place with the characters inGreasy lake. The changes that the narrator goes through at Greasy lake are similar changes that happened in young kids who fought in the Vietnam War.
The sequence of events that take place at Greasy Lake cause the narrator to grow up and see reality for the first time in his life. The young nineteen year olds who fought in Vietnam went through the same metamorphose as the narrator in Greasy Lake did, War is started by plain stupidity and you figure it out when it’s too late and there is nothing that can be done to change your actions. The characters in Greasy lake are allegorically young men who fought war, their actions and feelings grasp and relate to the actions and feelings of war.
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