In what ways might "Greasy Lake"  be a commentary on American life?

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In recent times violence in American society has escalated. There have been acts of terrorism such as that of Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon, "workplace violence," school shootings, and gratuitous acts of violence such as the "knockout game" in which selected races have been attacked randomly, the spontaneous riot in New Hampshire at a Pumpkin Festival, and, most recently, the inflammatory riots in Ferguson, Missouri. For some of these, people have expressly traveled to a particular location in order to commit pre-meditated acts of violence. So, too, do the three boys drive to Greasy Lake with the express purpose of being "bad."

We went up to the lake because everyone went there, because we wanted to snuff the rich scent of possibility on the breeze, watch a girl take off her clothes and plunge into the festering murk, drink beer, smoke pot, howl at the stars,...

However, they do encounter more than for which they have planned in this setting of primal anarchy. Yet, they have courted violence with their taunting remarks at the blue car, remarks that propel "this bad greasy character" from his vehicle. Then, the narrator comes at him 

like a Kamikaze, mindless, raging, stung with humiliation--the whole thing....I came at him and brought the tire iron down across his ear....

This "murderous primal instant" is one that is repeated in many places in American life.