Ironic Circumstances in Greasy Lake by T.C. Boyle
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 hiding in the dark, polluted waters of Greasy Lake he encounters the flesh of a dead body floating in the murkiness along side him. He is forced to conceal himself in the dark waters next to a dead body while witnessing others vandalize and destroy his car from a distance. “There was a smell in the air, raw and sweet at the same time, the smell of the sun firing buds and opening blossoms. I contemplated the car. It lay there like a wreck along the highway, like a steel sculpture left over from a vanished civilization. Everything was still. This was nature.” These words are how he observes the...