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The Day of the Locust | Study Guide

Nathanael West

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The Day of the Locust | Chapter 22 | Summary



The men are getting drunk in the garage when Homer Simpson comes out and invites then all into the house. Faye Greener, provocatively dressed in bright green lounging pajamas, greets them and offers drinks all around. Faye immediately focuses in on Claude Estee, and the group assumes a sociable circle with Faye and Claude at center. He is mesmerized by her, and Faye, oblivious to everything and everyone, embarks on a long recitation of her ambitions. When Tod has had quite enough of her performance, he heads outside and sits on the curb, staring into the night. Homer follows and awkwardly attempts to engage Tod in conversation, finally acknowledging how troubled he is by the presence of Miguel and Earle Shoop. Tod counsels Homer to send the men away. Homer grows more and more agitated, allowing his nervous hands their compulsive movements. Faye, who is drunk, is singing a song that can be heard outside. Homer, childlike and hopeless, addresses Tod as Toddie, and Faye's song about getting high and not paying the rent closes the chapter.


The insistent realism of the preceding chapter, with its powerful and detailed description of the unfair cockfight, persists in the unfair or, at least, unbalanced human situation shown in this part. Faye Greener is at her gaudiest and plays at her most blatantly seductive and sexualized routine. Homer Simpson is at his lowest point, and his helplessness is underscored in his servile and childish behavior. Earle Shoop and Miguel are out of place in the house and have become silent as mannequins, cowboy versions of wooden Indians, with their slicked-back hair, pressed polka-dotted shirts, and high-heeled boots. All seem to have gathered to watch Faye's star turn. While she works to impress the only successful Hollywood guest in her house, she is seen rather than heard by the men present. Her act is merely sexual; they like looking at her. Tod leaves in disgust but only goes as far as the curb. He seems to have had enough of Homer, whom he hasn't the wherewithal to help. Faye's drunken song finishes the chapter, and the novel is rapidly turning darker and darker.

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