A Dream of a Lifetime

February 13, 2004

Eng 111

Literary Analysis

In “The Hector Quesadilla Story” from the book “Greasy Lakes,” T.C. Boyle writes about an old-timer baseball player whose life-long dream to become a big leaguer never becomes a reality. The story describes how a Mexican ballplayer looks forward to the day when he can show the world he can still “play the game” despite his old age. In the end, the character imagines his last game will be his greatest. The book has a sad ending because the character never fulfills his dream of becoming a legend. All people go through the ageing process at some point in their lives. It is natural to think you will never lose your youthfulness and vitality. Everyone should aspire to achieve their goals while they are still full of life. This story characterizes Hector Quesadilla as a person who wants to hold on to his youth and become a legend in his own mind.

The author uses humor to describe Hector’s ailments, such as shinsplints, hemorrhoids and ingrown toenails and how the character has aged. He then compares him to when he was young and played like “a saint of the stick” (203) and resembled the best baseball player that ever played in Mexico. As Charles E. May wrote in his survey of the story, Boyle “examines the silliness of the world, exulting in its absurdities.”(325). Humor is often used by some people as a way of getting through obstacles and maintaining a positive outlook on life.

Boyle uses comparison contrast to describe his character throughout the story. He will say something positive about Hector, but in contrast will remind the reader that Hector is too old to continuing playing baseball. Throughout the story the author gives his character several opportunities to prove himself. He builds suspense by asking the question that encourages the reader to go on reading the story and find the conclusion.

The character daydreams about seeing his nickname on a license plate and associates that as a sign of great things to come. He hopes to see his own name in lights, but is quickly brought back to reality when his wife she tells him to “hang up his spikes, abuelo.” (205)

Hector Quesadilla does not want to accept the fact that he is old. He considers himself to be “a big-leaguer and proud wearer of the Dodger blue, wielder of stick and glove.” (205) Hector hangs on for the opportunity to see action in the field, for a moment in the spotlight and for a cheer from the crowd, but his aches and pains hunt him down. He associates his youthfulness to a baseball game describing how ”the grass is always green, the lights always shining, no clocks or periods or halve or quarter, no-punch in and punch: This is the game that never ends” (205). Boyle compares baseball with other sports like basketball, hockey, football, and boxing that have their time limits, but baseball can go forever.

Even though T.C. Boyle writes this story using comedy to describe his character as a baseball hero that goes through different stages to fulfill his dream and play the longest game ever played in history. The plot of this story takes you to the game itself - the number one pastime in America, where heart rates goes up and adrenaline runs through your veins and the excitement of being in that moment of the game.

Ronald Reed of The Dallas Morning News explains the story by saying “The Hector Quesadilla Story” is one of the best mystical baseball stories this side of Ray Kinsella’s. Shoeless Joe. An aging Latin baseball player, years past his prime, is put into an extra-inning game that looks, literally, like it will never end. The story is a bitter sweet excursion into dream, failure, the loss of youth, and the faint arc a baseball follows from bat to left field.”

Works Cited

Boyle, T. Coraghessan. Greasy Lake and Other Stories. New York: Viking, 1985.


Ronald Reed. “Greasy Lake.” The Dallas Morning News 18 Aug. 1985. 12 Feb. 2004

<http: //www.tcboyle.com/public_htm/reviews/greasy_dn.html>.

Charles May. Critical Survey of Short Fiction. California: Pasadena, 2001


Frank Magill. Magill’s Survey of American Literature. New York: Marshall Cavendish.1991