Greasy Lake – Single Character Analysis Essay

Assignment Instructions

Now that you have observed the attributes of the characters in the short stories “A&P” and “Greasy Lake,” write a character-analysis essay in which you analyze one major or minor character from any short story in Chapter 21: “Fiction for further reading.”  Use specific language from chapters 14 and 17 when crafting your character analysis essay.

  • What “type” of character are you analyzing?
  • How are language and the style/tone of the story used to formulate the character?
  • Is the story reflective of the character, or the character of the story?
  • How would a reader from another country or culture potential draw different conclusions about the characters in these stories?

Your response should be 750-1000 words.

For a successful character analysis paper:

  • Have a strong thesis statement at the end of your introduction paragraph.
  • Use a “hook” in the introduction paragraph to grab your readers’ attentions.
  • Use specific textual support from the short story in the body of your paper.
  • Finish with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points, restates the thesis in some way, and possibly returns to the initial “hook.”
  • Proofread for errors in spelling, grammar and writing mechanics. Vary sentence structure and sentence length to add interest.
  • Follow CSU-GC Graduate APA guidelines with regard to font style, size, margins and spacing.

Sample Answer – Character Analysis Essay – Greasy Lake


The main character in ‘Greasy Lake’ is a nineteen-year-old boy. The name of the character is not given, but some details about him are evident from the way he narrates the story. From the look of things from the start, the character purposely engages in acting out an evil character pretentiously. The story unfolds whereby he had gone out with some of his friends with most of their intentions being evil from the start. The main character shows a lot of rebelliousness as he engages in activities that are of utmost disobedience to the virtues held by any society. He puts out an image of a rebellious team to impress his friends. Various actions he does depict him as one who has a bad image and dangerous at the same time. Some of the actions that show the rebellious nature of the teenager are when he drinks grape juice and gin to impress his friends and show them that he is cool and frightening (Boyle, 2014). At the same time, he puts on the leather jacket which most depicts people as cool while the same time taking his parent’s car for a ride with his friends. Throughout the story, we see that he acts out an image, which he is not. He disguises himself as a bad person or a cool and intimidating person for some time and by the end of the story, we notice a fearful teenager who just want to go home and rest.  Therefore, the narrator comes out pretentiously in presenting the reader with a very bad and rebellious character who in the end changes to his usual self.

The character further shows a pretentious nature together with aggravation. In saying that “we were bad,” he indicates that it was only at that time that he had decided to act like a bad person. Furthermore, the characters tried to be as bad as possible in his pretentious state in that he opted to take drugs mainly sniffing glue, which they considered as cocaine. In further showing that the was bad, the character goes out of his way to engage in the various activities like putting up a fight with greasy character. They start a fight without any aggression towards them. In this case, he comes out as a crowd pleaser who wants to gain attention from his friend by showing that he can surpass them in some of the bad acts.

In changing from the bad character in the end, he shows that he is dynamic. This is shown at the end of the story where the characters opt to go home and rest and does not want to engage in any other evil acts like taking drugs with the girls who had stopped at their window. In addition, his friends nudge him before he answers the girl. The other characters add to the pretentious state of the character after they indicate that they do not want to engage in any other activities like taking drugs and partying with the girl.

The character is greatly moved to reality when the crowd looks for him and the friends to finish them at all costs. The author thus present the scenario whereby the narrator is thrown into reality especially for the evil intent he had. He discovers that his decisions have consequences. Being evil and macho at the same time do not count much in the real world especially when they are taken too far. The narrator, in this case, is indecision, as he has to face an angry crowd, which aims to kill him and his friends. He hides in the murky waters where he discovers the supposed body of Al and the occasion changes his character back to reality.

He thus has a reality check. His bad nature lessens until he opts to go home and rest and come out of the fracas he has gotten himself in. Therefore, in the ensuing period, the narrator consequently disengages himself from doing any bad activities. Furthermore, he is fearful esepieaclly after being chased by the people into the grease lake. However, at first, he shows a character who is daring to do anything he becomes a shadow image of himself at the end of the story where he shows a lot of cowardice and timidity. He comes out as remorseful especially when he says that he had done some bad things. He is thus timid in the sense that he does not want to continue in the bad character he had started and notices that there are consequences to everything evil one does. Character development is further shown in the end when the narrator opts to go home and rest and does not think of engaging in any other activities considered bad. He almost cries when the girl asks him and his friends to join in taking some drugs and partying with her friend whom the narrator knew was dead. He is fearful in that he does not want to disclose to the girl that her friend is dead and opts to keep silence. Fear, in this case, gets the most of him, and the only hope he has is to go home and rest.


Therefore, the main character first comes out as a bad character who is intent on being rebellious and doing acts that he would not have normally done. A dynamic shift occurs in the end, which changes the character to his real self, and he has to content with the situation he is in while at the same time thinking on how he can safely reach home. The character changes drastically from being a bad character to a remorseful character then to himself where he just wants life to return to normal. The narrator has to meet eventually reality and mediate on his evil acts while at the same time regretting on why he took on such a venture.

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