In Boyle's "Greasy Lake," do you think the boys found what they were looking for on the third night? What were they looking for?

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The young men were looking for excitement and a way to demonstrate their masculine ability to be "bad." Essentially, they were bored with their safe and effectively "boring" middle-class lifestyles; as fashionable young men, they defined the idea of being "bad" as the epitome of being relevant, empowered, and macho...

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The young men were looking for excitement and a way to demonstrate their masculine ability to be "bad." Essentially, they were bored with their safe and effectively "boring" middle-class lifestyles; as fashionable young men, they defined the idea of being "bad" as the epitome of being relevant, empowered, and macho at the same time.

So, the young men looked for excitement and danger the first two nights; however they found the "rich scent of possibility" positively elusive. To the young men, being "bad" meant being able to smoke pot, drink beer, sniff glue/ether/cocaine, watch a girl skinny-dip without her knowledge, and "manage a Ford with lousy shocks over a rutted and gutted blacktop road at eighty-five while rolling a joint as compact as a Tootsie Roll Pop stick." Their perception of danger was extravagantly colored by elements of popular fiction, reconstructions of historical reality, and the make-believe world of Hollywood movies.

So, they were shocked by their encounter with true danger on the third night. This particular night had begun with the usual rowdy behavior; after the young men had exhausted their repertoire of "dangerous" behavior, however, they had taken off for Greasy Lake. There, they had come across a metallic blue Chevy, which they imagined belonged to a friend, Tony Lovett.

They had decided to play a practical joke on Tony, but soon found themselves attacked by a "greasy" stranger who emerged from the car. Before the night was over, one of them had managed to club the "greasy" stranger over the head with a tire iron, all of them had almost raped the "greasy" stranger's girl, and one of them had come across a dead body floating in the swamp. Somehow, "films and TV and childhood visits to the funeral home" hadn't prepared the young men for the very real troubles they found themselves in on the third night. So, the young men did not find the sort of the excitement they were looking for on the third night.

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