"Greasy Lake" by T. Coraghessan Boyle

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“Greasy Lake” by T. Coraghessan Boyle While it appears that the primary conflict in “Greasy Lake” is man vs. man, the true conflict is internal as the narrator struggles to move from his self-deception to a true self-image. The benignant acts of “…[wearing] torn-up leather jackets, slouched around with toothpicks in our mouths, [sniffing] glue and ether and what somebody claimed was cocaine.” (646) allows him to perceive himself and his friends as “bad”. After a late night visit to Greasy Lake, the protagonist and his friends get a taste of what it is they’ve been searching for, and realize it wasn’t truly what they yearned for after all. The narrator had this ideal surrounding himself and Greasy Lake; the idea that he was bad and that Greasy Lake is where you went to be bad. Though, what transpired there was a dose of harsh reality and also a learning experience. He describes the lake to us, “The Indians had called it Wakan, a reference to the clarity of its waters. Now it was fetid and murky, the mud banks glittering with broken glass and strewn with beer cans and the charred remains of bonfires. There was a single ravaged island a hundred yards from shore, so stripped of vegetation it looked as if the air force had staffed it. 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. This was nature.” (647) In the protagonist’s attempt to rebel and be bad, he has no respect for “nature”. After years of desecration, the lake is called “Greasy” and the narrator takes pride in its transformation, calling it “nature”, and carrying out the tradition of being “bad” against

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