Greasy Lake

Greasy Lake is the title story of Coraghessan Boyle’s collection of fictional short stories that reflects the anxieties, issues and fear of Americans during the 1960s. The story revolves around the acceptance of oneself and the influences of peer pressure among the teenagers.

Summary of Greasy Lake

The story involves three nineteen-year-old teenagers who are on a late night adventure looking for trouble and end up finding it. The narrator, Digby and Jeff head out for an evening using the narrator’s mother’s car. The group ends up past greasy lake town at a local hang out joint, and they notice a car that look familiar to them thinking it is a friend’s car and they decide to harass him. The car had a man and girl who is angered by the harassment and decides to fight with the wannabes. The narrator hits the man with iron, knocking him out. When the young girl comes out of the car to check on her man, the three boys attack her. They are interrupted before they do anything to her by a car making its way to the parking lot, confused as always the teenagers run to hide. The narrator comes across a body of the corpse, but him and others wait until all the people are gone. They come out to examine the damage to their car before another car shows up which has two girls. The girls notice a motorcycle of their friend but the narrator realizes it belongs to the body he run into but doesn’t say anything. The girls ask them if they are interested in partying but the decline and leave the town in the torn apart cart.


The story explains what the difference between good and bad is, also gives the situations reality. The teenagers developed affections of what they thought would make them look as bad boys. In literature, water represents transition and spirituality. By the lake being greasy, indicates the elusive badness the boys want so badly. The narrator realizes that none of them is bad just as he huddles out in water near the dead body. From the one night of perceived badness that the narrator wants he realizes he cannot make it in that life, rather he wants to return to the safety and security of his home and parents. And not the insecure places that can lead them to that life and the real dangers that result to floating corpse are not for him.