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Greasy Lake

             The short story "Greasy Lake-, written by T. Coraghessan Boyle, would be categorized as an allegory. Allegory can be defines as a literary work with many symbols of a larger representation. As stated in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, "allegory usually includes themes such as innocence, charity and prudery."" This story on the other hand, is about a loss of innocence. Throughout the story there are several references to how dark and mysterious the atmosphere is. This represents the boys' "bad character-. Most of the representations in the story have a kind of dark and gloomy sense. The story is about a group of adolescent boys that are looking for some kind of experience that would actually label them as "bad."" When they are finally confronted with a bad situation, are they really as bad as they think they are?.
             A common theme during the story is nature. One of the boys refers to nature twice, in two very different situations. The first time is almost animalistic. He states, "This is nature- when they are in the woods drinking beer and howling at the moon. The second time is more spiritual as is the earth, God's creation and the sweet smell of the flowers. .
             As the story progresses there is an overwhelming feeling of masculinity and coming of age. The boys are going up to Greasy Lake with a bottle of gin because, in their minds, there was nothing else to do to occupy their time. We are told that the Indians call Greasy Lake "Wakan- because of how clear the water is. Later on in the story, when one of the boys is forced to hide in the lake to escape, we learn that the lake is actually filthy. There is a layer of algae and muck hovering on top of the surface of the water. He also discovers a dead body covered in mud floating in the lake. The reference to the clarity of the water seems very ironic. Not only because of the actual physical appearance of the lake but also the nature of what occurs at the lake.

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