Greasy Lake Essay, Research Paper
While reading Greasy Lake by T. Coraghessan Boyle, the reader notices that the writing voice of Boyle is quite distinct. Boyle’s voice is distinct because he has a satirical way of writing stories about the everyday life of people. He focuses on the unusual people and their peculiar circumstances, which in Boyle’s case just adds to his already humorous stories. However, Boyle does not seem to concentrate on satire alone, he writes in a poetic fashion that allows the reader to enter the mind of the characters that he is writing about as well as feel the situations at hand.
Boyle’s distinct way of writing satire is apparent in most of his stories. Boyle wrote an absolutely hysterical story called “The New Moon Party.” The story highlights a politician named George L. Thorkelsson who was re-elected to the position of Governor because he proposed to get the United States to build a new moon that was bigger and brighter than the existing one. When the new moon was finally built and in space, it was revealed to the public. Boyle writes:
“Something crazy was going on. The shoving had stopped as it had begun, but now, suddenly and inexplicably, the audience started to undress. Right before me, on the platform, in the seats reserved for foreign diplomats, out over the seething lawn, they were kicking off shoes, hoisting shirt fronts and brassieres, dropping cummerbunds and Jockey shorts. And then, incredibly, horribly, they began to clutch at one another in passion, began to stroke, fondle, and lick, humping in the grass, plunging into the bushes, running around like nymphs and satyrs at some mad Bacchanal. A senator I’d known for forty years went by me in a dead run, pursuing the naked wife of the Bolivian ambassador; Miss Iowa disappeared behind the rhythmically heaving buttocks of the sour-faced clergyman . . . ”
Just from looking at the sun reflecting off of the new moon, everyone was sparked with intense sexual desires that continuously intensified until everyone started to have sex in the open. Boyle’s satirical writing style is not only apparent in the comical situation, but also in his ability to describe the lust of the proper diplomats who are supposed to be the leaders for the moral majority and for clergymen who have sworn to celibacy as a testament to their faith. By having a priest making-love with a model, Boyle portrays the satirical side of his writing voice in the deepest sense by proposing an idea so absurd that it’s funny.
Although hysterically funny, Boyle possesses the ability to write about a character in a way that makes the reader feel like they are actually experiencing the characters feelings and emotions. While reading the story “Overcoat II”, the reader begins to empathize for the main character, Akaky Akakievich. Akaky buys a very expensive new overcoat from the black market in order to fit in with his peers at work. Akaky’s peers constantly tease him for having a drab, old, cheap, and torn overcoat. While walking home late one night, Akaky is beaten and has his brand new jacket stolen. The new overcoat is his only chance of being accepted, so its loss is devasating for him. The coat is found by the police, but Akaky can’t get it back because he purchased it from the black market. Boyle writes:
“From that moment on, Akaky’s life shifted gears, lurching into a rapid and inexorable downward spiral . . . The overcoat, of course, became property of the Soviet government. Akaky left the conference room in a daze — he felt as if he’d been squeezed like a blister, flattened like a fly. His coat was gone, yes — that was bad enough. But everything he believed in, everything he’d worked for, everything he’d been taught from the day he took his first faltering steps and gurgled over a communal rattle — that was gone too” (Page 228).
Just from the way Boyle writes how Akaky feels like he has been squeezed like a blister, the reader is allowed to explore how it would feel to be squeezed in such a way. By imagining that something is pushing so tight around a body that it is forced to emotionally expose itself with a sudden gush of pain and emotion, Boyle creates a feeling of loss and heartache for the reader. In writing how Akaky felt like he’d been flattened like a fly, Boyle compels the reader to get into Akaky’s heart and mind. To be flattened like a fly is to be brushed aside and discarded because of being an annoyance. Boyle describes Akaky’s heartache from the rejection in the simile about a fly being flattened. These similes are what allow Boyle’s readers to get into the heart and mind of the characters about which he is writing.
In conclusion, T. Corraghessan Boyle’s writing voice is masterful and individualistic. Boyle’s comedic stories are packed with satire that lighten the mood of the book and provide a few good laughs to the reader. Although filled with burlesque, Boyle’s stories always leave the reader thinking, whether it is about alternate, deeper meanings of similes or about what the characters are really thinking or feeling. Even though the book is sometimes farfetched, there is never any lack of content. Boyle always provided an unusual twist of humor and reality that leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction.