Conflict Within

Essay by amberlynnA+, March 2004

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In "Greasy Lake," a short story written by T. Corghessan Boyle, three young men come into conflict while looking for good, clean fun at an old hangout. The men in the story are on a mission, one that they embarked upon by mistake and are now in a battle to overcome not only natures obstacles, but obstacles within themselves. The boys went out that night only looking to have a good time, but this night of fun turned out to be a night of terror, when the boys come into conflict with another group of young men. There are many conflicts in this story, but the main one is the boys's conflict with themselves. Boyle shows that men, in need for self-exploration, have limits that must be recognized. This can be shown throughout the story through the setting, the point of view and the plot structure.

The young narrator's need for self-exploration can be seen within the setting to which takes place at a local hangout called Greasy Lake. Every town has a local hangout where everyone goes and in a sense is a place for most young people to identify with themselves whether it be experimental in ones sexual prowess, an exploration of alcohol and drugs, or the slight possibility of a spiritual assessment. The narrator asserts the reader that himself and his two companions were "bad" (129) and they went to the lake "because everyone went there" (129), and they wanted to "watch a girl take off her clothes" (129), "drink beer, smoke pot" (129), "howl at the stars" (129), and "savor the incongruous full-throated roar of rock and roll against the primeval susurrus of frogs and crickets" (129). The setting definitely identifies with the self-exploration of these young men and can be further identified...