The Day of the Locust | Study Guide

Nathanael West

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The Day of the Locust | Chapter 24 | Summary



Tod Hackett returns to Pinyon Canyon the next day, hoping to apologize to Homer Simpson. He finds Homer in his pajamas in the living room, the mess from the party all around him. Tod begins to clean up, and Homer begins to cry. Finally, he stops crying and tells Tod that Faye Greener has left. Homer then begins a garbled story about what precipitated Faye's departure.

Although he does not appear to understand the events of the evening and the later repercussions, his narrative includes his innocent version of the party and of the events later that night. Homer claims that he enjoyed watching Faye having a good time at the party and only objected when Earle Shoop forced his kisses on Faye. Later that night, he heard Faye moaning in her bedroom and decided to bring her some aspirin and a glass of water. When he finally opened her door, he discovered that she was nude and in bed with Miguel who was also nude. Earle, who apparently also heard Faye's moan, pushed his way into the bedroom, and the men had a terrible fight. Once the men left, Homer went back to bed and fell asleep, and when he woke up, Faye was gone.


Homer Simpson's innocence stretches the reader's imagination. His narrative of the party and its aftermath also reminds the reader how various individuals at the same scene can read it differently. Homer's innocence is his pathology; he can be read as a case of arrested development or as a representation of purity that cannot sustain itself in the face of a range of ethical compromises that survival demands. Homer announces to Tod that he will return to Wayneville, Iowa because it might be a less demanding venue for men of his ilk. Evidently, Homer has forgotten his near brush with disaster that was his reason for leaving home in the first place. It is likely that there is no safe place for Homer. Tod's attention and attempted kindness to Homer also reveal behavior that would seem to reflect a change in Tod—at least once his temptation has been removed from the scene.

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