Greasy Trenches

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cjherrer
Words 1111
Pages 5
Claudio H
December 3rd, 2013
Professor Patten
ENGS013 – Intro to Fiction

Greasy Trenches

Who, what, when, where, and why? We find ourselves asking these questions, constantly pondering life, piecing together the puzzle of our experiences, which in part allows us to remember the answers. Our association with “where” an experience happened or took place is often the best wake-up call. If one is able to recall the setting, one can usually evoke the whole experience. In “Greasy Lake,” by T. C. Boyle and “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, we learn just how monumental the setting of an experience can be, especially in a short story. Drawing comparisons between each story will allow the reader to delve even deeper into the importance of setting. Now it is obvious that a story that revolves around a lake that adolescents ravage and the jungles of Vietnam in the heat of the war are nowhere near similar, but they are. Boyle and O’Brien both create magnificent settings, but they differ in the techniques they use to tell their remarkable stories. Both stories rely heavily on setting and we look to the development of characters in those settings and the influence of setting on plot, to illustrate the differences and similarities between the two, which in the end exemplify brilliant short stories. In “Greasy Lake,” the reader is immediately immersed into the story of three foolish kids up to no good, heading to a secret spot in town. Boyle presents us with this spot without hesitation: “the Indians had called it Wakan, a reference to the clarity of its waters. Now it was fetid and murky, the mud banks glittering with broken glass and strewn with beer cans and the charred remains of bonfires” (125). The choice the three kids have made to come to Greasy Lake changes them forever and, without it, there would be no story at all. Boyle successfully familiarizes…...

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