Soon After Goliath Fell, Essay Example
Analysis of “Greasy Lake” By T. Coraghessan Boyle
Soon after Goliath fell, a girl came out running and screaming at the victors. The boys then turn on to her, and began tearing her clothes. As they are about to atack her, however, another carof Bobby’s friendspulls into the lot and the boys disperse. The narrator dives into the lake, where he encounters a dead body and recoils in horror.Luckily for them, Bobby is not dead.As a result of the confrontation, Bobby and his friends smash the boy’s car. The boys find the car with the tires intact, though they meet two women who wonder where the owner of the motorcycle has gone. The discovery of a dead body floatingfurther shrinksboysback in horror,and realization of their deeds. It is as if they have made a journey from innocence to experience, from one state of consciousness to another. For them, the adventure is frightening and exhilarating at the same time. Pumped by primal instincts, they are living in their own frightening nightmares.Coming out from where they were hidden, they were relieved that the fighting was finally over.Upon thoroughly inspecting the car, they were also relieved that the tires were intact; however, “there was no windshield, the headlights were staved in, and the body looked as if it had been sledge-hammered for a quarter a shot at the county fair, but the tires were inflated to regulation pressure” (Boyle 131). As they lose their keys, wrestle with “a bad greasy character”(Gale 2), and come close by killing him and then raping his girlfriend. The three young men have, by this time, traveled far down a path on “the dark side”.
As the narrator and his friends hide in the woods, he and the boys from the second car then demolish the station wagon. Just after the vandals leave, another car drives into the lot. Two young, drug-addled girls in a Mustang step out of the car, one of them saying to the boys, “You guys look like some pretty bad characters” (Boyle 929). These girls represent another opportunity to fulfill: “the drunken excitement for which they have been searching unsuccessfully all evening” (Bull 20). One woman in “tight jeans [and] stiletto heels” bearing a handful of pills offers the boys drugs, but the narrator, indicating his revulsion at the decadence that had once seemed so appealing, declines the offer (Boyle 929), thinking that he “was going to cry”. His answer is final and transformation is now complete. The “sheen of sun on the lake” depicts a revitalization of life’s opportunity, as well as hisconfimration of it, for they have passed their first test (Boyle 929). The boys participate in real evil fror the first time and are profoundly altered by the experience. In short, they are ushered from the world of innocence to that of experience.
Greasy Lake is a story that is symbolic on many levels, in part, perhaps, because the story’s main action is told in retrospect by the boy who found body in the lake. The narrator submerges into the dirty water of Greasy Lake in retreat and emerges with a cleansed sense of maturity and understanding. The narrator looks back on the series of mistakes and near consequences not with pride, but with shame and a profound understanding of the cost of the knowledge that he has gained.The story concludes as he puts the wrecked and barely drivable car in gear and creeps back toward the highway, back toward a world of innocence.
Walker, Michael. “Boyle’s ‘Greasy Lake‘ and the Moral Failure of Postmodernism”.Studies in Short Fiction 31:2 (Spring 1994): 253.
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