T. Coraghessan Boyles “Greasy Lake” and “Big Game” are similarly structured but completely different short stories that explain the transitions of people from fake slaves of their image to genuine and realized individuals. If not portrayed in the stories, the development in the characters certainly escapes into the readers imagination and almost magically makes them the learned. The plot of the two stories is one of the strongest lines connecting them together by way of foundation, but at the same time it establishes completely different story lines that follow the same beat.
Boyles evolution from “Greasy Lake” to “Big Game” has also provided for a progression in his style. Evident from the two stories is the contrasted amounts of detail and abstract detail. In some sense, Boyle has mellowed over the two stories by leaving out many of the twists and turns of “Greasy Lake” in “Big Game,” but in the same sense has become more exciting with more violence and action. The plots in the two stories are similar in structure and pattern of action. They both include violence and regretful lessons learned the hard way, and seam to involve similar events and characters. A definite change in Boyles plot over the course of the two stories however, is the loss in significance and importance of the plot and the take over by setting and character instead.
A well-defined thread connecting the two stories are the plot similarities. In both stories, the characters attempt to be what they are not. The plot revolves around this central theme and shows them doing things they arent fit to do. Whether it is shooting a lion or fighting a tough guy, the series of characters do several things in the course of the plot that define their respective stories. Also similar is the type of people the stories focus on. In both, the characters were upper-middle-class people whom the plots revert to their natural selves. Finally, in both stories the action is focused on events that are away from civilization and are out of the ordinary. The developments arent easily intervened and are also events that arent done everyday.
On the same thread is a pattern of difference as well between “Greasy Lake” and “Big Game.” The plot of the former indicates Boyles earlier style with more events and less detail whereas “Big Game” portrays less events with dramatically more detail. The plots as a result, essentially are either twisty and turned or dwell on certain ideas for long periods of time. Also different in the plots are the types of people the events of the story occur to. In “Greasy Lake” a bunch of college students are out having a good time whereas in “Big Game” middle-aged vacationers are trying to uncover their roots. Perhaps the most important of the differences, however, is the near-death in “Greasy Lake” and the actual death occurring in “Big Game.” Although death is present in the “Greasy Lake,” “Big Game” actually shows it happening and goes as far as to have it happen to the main characters of the story.
Boyles maturation of style has given up the changing and dynamic plot of his past with a more detailed account of less events. The plots in his story have changed, but they still revolve around lessons learned the extremely harshest and toughest ways.