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The plot of this excellent short story clearly points towards its concerns with macho behaviour and the limits to which young men are willing to go to prove that they are tougher than everybody else. Boyle himself wrote that that this story concerned the encounter between one man who thinks he is "bad" encountering another man who is worse than he is. The story asks such implicit questions as how bad are you willing to be and how far are you able to go or willing to go to be worse than others around you. This is of course superbly supported by the metaphorical setting of Greasy Lake, which sems to represent the other extreme of the spectrum from suburban middle class life. The way in which the story features a gradual slide from comic behaviour to grisly horror is something that likewise supports the theme of bad behaviour and its boundaries and various limits. As we sink into Greasy Lake along with the characters, the story reaches its ultimately shocking conclusion.
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