Case Study: Creative Writing Author

Pages: 4 (1468 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] These men are not real badasses, but phony reflections of pop culture. When confronting an actual tough guy, these teens are no match. In the story, the narrator and his equally inept friend make two attempts at criminality, first a murder with a tire iron and then a rape, neither of which is successful. However, in the failing of the crime, the narrator comes to realize the truth of who and what he is and to understand that the label of "bad" that he has given himself is nothing but a sham. "I was nineteen, a mere child, and infant" (Greasy). In the attempt at evildoing, the narrator has learned that the bad boy image he has so far been projecting is a facade.

The final short story to be discussed here is "When I Woke Up This Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone." The story is essentially a conversation between a young male narrator and a drunk he meets at a local eatery. Jimmy, for that is the drunk's name, claims to be a bum who has lost his wife, his home, and his children. Jimmy explains that in his old life, he was a football coach for his son Chris until one day he got a call from his wife saying that Chris was in the hospital and that he was dying. Chris had gone on a bender with his fraternity brothers. "His son had choked on his own vomit, inhaled it, compromising his lungs. No one knew how long he'd been lying there in the bed next to Benny Chung without drawing a breath before the E.R. team restarted his heart" (When). The story, like the others before, is told in the first person but it is not the narrator's story that is being told.

When they talk about Chris's death and the terrible effect it had on Jimmy's marriage and the rest of his life, it is evident that Jimmy is content in his current miserable existence. Over the course of their discussion, the narrator tries to help Jimmy by changing his life. "So we talked about Jimmy, Jimmy's tragedy, Jimmy's refusal to accept facts and the way Jimmy was running hard up against the sharp edges of the world and was sure to wind up in a coffin just like his father before him and his son too if he didn't get himself into rehab as his number one priority" (When). However, the narrator does not share any information with Jimmy, just a few tidbits about his life. This is Jimmy's story and not the narrator's. Therefore, the narrator's desire to get Jimmy help is unimportant. The narrator will never know the kind of sadness that Jimmy currently lives with every day and so cannot really pass judgment.

The three stories all have a first person narrator, injecting himself in a story where the sequence of events that he himself takes part in are relatively unimportant. In the case of "Ike and Nina," the narrator is witness to the events and he takes part but it is not his story. This is also true with "When I Woke Up this Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone." In "Greasy Lake," Boyle takes a different position. The story is told through the narrator's perspective and he does take an active role in the story, but it is really not the plot of the tale that matters. The real story is in the minds of the characters and how they think about and reflect on the things they see and hear. In this way the stories are far more about internal conflict than anything exterior, be that death or rape or the Cold War. What can be learned from Boyle's writings then is that a story begins and ends with character. If you don't have a strong central character, a deep plot will not make it work, but if you have a strong character, no difficult plot is even necessary.

Works Cited

"About the Author." Tcboyle.com. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. http://www.tcboyle.com

Boyle, T.C. "Greasy Lake." Greasy Lake and Other Stories. New York: Penguin. 1986. Print.

Boyle, T.C. "Ike and Nina." Greasy Lake and Other Stories. New York: Penguin. 1986. Print.

Boyle, T.C. "When I Woke Up This Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone." Tooth and Claw.

New York: Penguin. 2005. Print. [END OF PREVIEW]

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Creative Writing Author.  (2011, February 23).  Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/creative-writing-case-study-author/6655664

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"Creative Writing Author."  Essaytown.com.  February 23, 2011.  Accessed May 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/creative-writing-case-study-author/6655664.