Describe positive and negative attributes of the narrator in "Greasy Lake."

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When considering the negative traits of the narrator in "Greasy Lake," there is plenty of material to choose from. Consider all the ways the narrator demonstrates poor values and makes disastrous choices. He is reckless, looking for trouble at all hours of the night, imagining that he and his friends are truly "dangerous characters." He and his friends engage in drug use while driving around, further endangering themselves and others. When they see a car at Greasy Lake, they presume it is a boy they know and immediately begin antagonizing him, hoping that they will be able to catch a glimpse of "some little fox's tit." Too late, the narrator realizes that they have incorrectly identified the car when a truly dangerous man emerges, livid that his evening is being disrupted by these three boys. The narrator hits the man with a tire iron and believes that he has killed him; the boys then turn to the woman who emerges from the car and nearly rape her. At every turn, the narrator demonstrates a disregard for the safety and well-being of others and fails to apply reason to a number of situations.

It's rather difficult to find a positive aspect to the narrator. One might be the sense of humor with which he delivers the story. He claims, for instance, that he was out late with "two dangerous characters" and then sarcastically adds that one "allowed his father to pay his tuition at Cornell." Later, when the "very bad character in greasy jeans" kicks him, the narrator comments that the assault "chipped [his] favorite tooth," as if he favors any particular tooth over another. You might also comment that he seems to have changed by the end of the story, no longer seizing an opportunity to take advantage of women after his harrowing night.

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