The Day of the Locust is often described as the best novel ever written about Hollywood, but it is a novel which puzzles some readers who expect a story about glamorous and talented performers or about successful filmmakers. West, however, deliberately kept such people at the fringes of his action, where they serve only as false ideals to his characters. Rather, he portrays the seamier side of Hollywood, a world peopled by untalented would-be actors, rundown vaudeville performers, prostitutes, and émigrés from the rest of America, all who have come expecting excitement along with the California sunshine. Tod Hackett, the novel's most important character, does not quite belong to any of these types; thus, he can function as both observer of them and as an outsider who is sucked into Hollywood's fantasy world. Tod is flanked by Homer Simpson, an inept, emotionally
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