The Day of the Locust By Nathanael West Summary and Analysis Chapter 19

This long chapter offers proportionally a great deal of both thematic and basic plot material. In general, it centers on the new relationship between Faye and Homer. Faye's going to live with Homer provides plot continuity and an opportunity for Tod to observe Faye and Homer together and to contrast his own situation with Homer's. Homer's agreement to sponsor Faye until she can become a movie star resembles a trite, unrealistic film script, and the idea that Faye can become a star is absurd. The emphasis on dressing her up for her new pursuit continues the satire on packaging as a key to Hollywood success, and the new relationship of the sexually repressed Homer with Faye is filled with an overpowering foreboding of terrible, eventual violence. Tod's refusal to advise Homer about legal arrangements for Homer's "contract" with Faye indicates that Tod sees that this arrangement is ludicrous. Nevertheless, Homer's temporary contentment will allow the situation to continue for a while, making Tod irrationally jealous of Homer.

The introduction of the cosmetically beautiful child actor, Adore, and his clichéd stage mother, Maybelle Loomis, briefly interrupts the main action. Adore is almost a parody of Hollywood's shameless perversion of innocence. His clearly sexual song, complete with body language, contrasts with his playing with a sailboat, and his manner of singing shows that he is being trained to play teasing roles exactly like Faye's. Maybelle Loomis' conversation illustrates the power and absurd silliness of the health and religious cults which flourish in California. She clearly manipulates her son just as she manipulates herself. Her presence leads Tod to reflect about different cults, whose pseudo-scientific rules for health combine desperation and vindictiveness.

Tod's observations of Homer with Faye, of Mrs. Loomis and her son, and of Faye's self-containment amidst all this artificiality bring out in him mixed thoughts and impulses: the desire to smash the unattainable Faye; plans to portray the Hollywood world in various styles of art; and a resolve not to pursue Faye any longer. Tod's notion that he can forget about Faye by putting aside his drawings of her, occurring in juxtaposition with his thoughts of painting the Hollywood cult figures, suggests that his artistic aims are linked to his aggression and lust. He senses in himself the anger and dissatisfaction that he sees in the cults and crowds around him.

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