T. Coraghessan Boyle's "Greasy Lake" and John Updike's "A & P" have many similarities as well as differences. Both are coming-of-age stories that teach some sort of lesson to the protagonist at the end. “A&P” is about a nineteen-year-old boy who stands up against his manager to impress a couple of girls who are dressed “immodestly”. “Greasy Lake” is about many nineteen years olds playing a prank on a couple of bad characters who turn out to show the teens what they can really do in return.
Luckily, the narrator and Sammy both realize their deficiency after the situations with the other characters. In “A&P” the narrator’s turning point in his life is when he finds the bikers body in the lake next to him. In “Greasy Lake” the realization occurs after Sammy quits his job and tries to be the “hero” to those girls. In both stories, the protagonists’ have no idea what the real world is like, or how it works.
The narrator in “Greasy Lake” does not know what bad means until his own “badness” is put to the test in the real world. From his experience, Sammy learns that he will be alone in the world if he keeps going the way he has been. He realizes his mistake and regrets it. Both of these instances show the readers that the characters did not know what real life was until they were thrown into it by their own actions.
Though there are many similarities, there are more obvious differences. The settings in each of the stories are very opposite. “A&P” is set in a grocery store, while “Greasy Lake’ is set in nature somewhere by a lake past all the “housing developments and shopping malls”. This is most definitely not the only difference.
Sammy is obviously not as immature as the narrator and his friends in “Greasy Lake”. Sammy works all summer while the other three boys look for adventure and...