What It Takes To Be Bad
What does it mean to be a teenager? Teenagers are trying to find their identities and fit in. T. C. Boyle’s story “Greasy Lake” has three rebellious teenagers looking for trouble on a summer evening and finding it. Boyle mentions through the narrator, that it was at a time when it was “good to be bad”, but a closer analysis of the story shows that the three boys are truly lost within their own egos. The story shows the changing culture of the time, something these young men desperately want to be apart of. Boyle shows how teenagers struggle to find themselves and to belong in the world.
These three young men demonstrate throughout the story that they are on a mission to find trouble while not having a clue what they’re actually doing. Every teen goes through a stage of rebellion in their life, a wanting to fit in no matter what the cost. As the narrator describes his friends, “Digby wore a gold star in his right ear and allowed his father to pay his tuition at Cornell; Jeff was…eighty-five while rolling a joint as compact as a Tootsie Pop stick” (530). This sends off a red flag as to what “bad boy” actually has these things and does these things. While one of the young men goes to the prestigious Cornell college and has his dad pay the tuition, the other is wanting to drop out of school to obtain a series of jobs that will get him nowhere in life. Then comes the little tall tale of how they’re able to roll a joint similar to a lollipop stick in a truck going eighty-five down the road; that is not necessarily possible nor a good thing. There is nothing original about these guys: they’re followers. As the narrator explains, “We went up to the lake because everyone went there…” (530). They wouldn’t hangout at Greasy Phillips 2 Lake if no one went. Another example of how these boys want to fit in and to...
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