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Symbolism in Tom Coraghessan Boyle's Greasy Lake

            In writing, a symbol is a person, place, or thing that suggests more than its expected and literal meaning in Boyle's short story "Greasy Lake"", he uses the lake in the title for not only a realistic purpose but also symbolically on the realistic level, the lake benefits the plot because it is the main setting where all the action happens. It also helps give focus to the story so that readers have a lingering feeling of its positively greasy atmosphere. The lake plays a significant part in the story and without the story being set there, events would have played out drastically different.
             Greasy Lake was "the place" for the rough people to go." The lake was the idea spot because it was secluded from the world of "do-gooders"." The partiers who went to greasy lake took advantage of its seclusion from the city and used it as a place to do anything and everything bad. Anything illegal was probably going to be on the agendas of those who went there. Young rebels went there to "watch a girl take off clothes and plunge into the festering, murky water, to drink beer, [and] to smoke pot" (126).
             Greasy Lake was a place that these rebels could go to escape the world of morals and responsibility. The crowd at Greasy Lake had no room to judge, for they had the same greasy habits. The lake was the narrators place to express himself. While admiring the lake's qualities such as the "primeval susurrus of frogs and crickets", he thought to himself, "this is nature" (126). Aside from the lakes ambiance, the narrator gives a description of its physical attributes. The lake water 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 savaged island one-hundred yards from shore, so strip of vegetation it looked as if the Air Force has strafed it" (125). It was sparsely covered with "dark, rank, mysterious grass,"" (126) with "feculant undergrowth at the lakes edge" (128).

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