Anderson ResponsePaper1

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Michelle Anderson
Professor Ruth Reis-Palatiere
ENC 1102: English II
February 7, 2015
“Greasy Lake”: Corruption of Our Youth In T. Coraghessan Boyle’s short story “Greasy Lake,” the setting is not only a place, but also represents the corruption of morality and of the youth. To help set up the atmosphere and develop the characters as the story takes place, it is very important for the setting to be clearly given. Boyle uses setting in his story “Greasy Lake” very well to portray the characters as rebel adolescents. The main setting of "Greasy Lake" is a lake that is filthy and murky. It is dark and where all the teenagers tend to go to have sex or get into mischief. When Greasy Lake is first described to us, we are told that it was originally called Wakan by the Indians which refer to its clarity. The authors purpose of telling us this it to show that because the youth come to the lake to live out their primal lusts and anarchy, it is now murky and filthy. We can compare this to the corruption of society, once so innocent and pure, now filthy and murky from all the shenanigans of the world. Showing that Greasy Lake is a place to go to have sex, drink alcohol and participate in violence is a comparison to the way youth are today. In a way, the Greasy Lake represents the youth, littered with alcohol, sex and violence, corrupted from society. The teenage narrator describes laying in the lake with “the bad breath of decay all around” (Boyle 534) him. The bad breath of decay could refer to the corruption of society that is happening all around him. The entire setting of the story “Greasy Lake” is a passage into adulthood for the teens. The teens go to Greasy Lake to participate in rebellious activities, such as drinking alcohol, getting into a fight and almost murdering another man and raping his girlfriend. Once the narrator goes into the lake to try to hide, he comes out a new man. He even describes himself as “a mere child, an infant” (Boyle 533) when he bumps into the dead body in the water, which are words he would not have muttered before coming to the lake and getting into the water. The author uses this baptism to show his transformation into adulthood. It may be dirty and filthy water with a dead body floating in it, but it is still a baptism in its own way. Once the teenage gets out of the water and returns to the battered car, he is a new man. Normally one for easily saying yes to an attractive female offering a drug, he has chosen to say no. This is the way the author shows us he has crossed over into adulthood and now has morals. The narrator describes how “the eastern half of the sky went from black to cobalt and the trees began to separate themselves from the…