The Day of the Locust | Study Guide

Nathanael West

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Course Hero. "The Day of the Locust Study Guide." Course Hero. 16 Mar. 2018. Web. 19 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Day-of-the-Locust/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, March 16). The Day of the Locust Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 19, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Day-of-the-Locust/

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Course Hero. "The Day of the Locust Study Guide." March 16, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Day-of-the-Locust/.

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Course Hero, "The Day of the Locust Study Guide," March 16, 2018, accessed July 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Day-of-the-Locust/.

The Day of the Locust | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

Tod Hackett visits the Greeners the night after the incident in the canyon and finds Harry Greener in bed, looking very ill. Tod learns that Faye Greener has gone to the movies with Homer Simpson. Harry regales Tod with one of his past routines, to which Tod listens sadly. Faye returns to find Harry asleep, and she and Tod tiptoe into her room. When he asks if she had a good time with Homer, Faye responds by disparaging Homer and sending Tod off with a curt, "I'm tired, honey."

Analysis

The allegorical and the real operate side by side as Tod Hackett, studying Harry Greener's face, thinks about how much an actor's face looks like a mask, the borders marked by lines and wrinkles produced by extremes of expression that the actor must practice. He then considers whether actors have real feelings since their expressions are physically programmed for extremes by occupational practice, also yielding deep wrinkles. He concedes that they must, although they cannot easily be read. He then thinks about Harry's seductive theatrical routine, a list of personal misfortunes designed to elicit the sympathy of his audience. At this point in the story the old man's sadness and lack of professional success are presumably real and also utilized as the vehicle of his art. Tod has a lesson in the possible close relation between art and life that he hadn't had clearly at the story's opening. Sadly, this notion is reinforced in Faye Greener's obvious concern for her father and her dismissal of Tod. For a girl judged as artificial, in this scene she is as real as can be.

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