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The Day of the Locust

Nathanael West

Summary and Analysis Chapter 25

This brief chapter continues the preceding action. Homer's going into an immobile trance gives Tod a chance to reflect on Homer's condition. The image of Homer as a tightly wound-up spring — now free from its function as part of a machine — symbolizes both Homer's retreat from experience and his potential for violence. This symbolism is more dramatic than Tod's conventional observation that Homer has assumed the fetal position, typical of people who have lost their minds. Tod intellectualizes about Homer's state, but he does nothing practical to help him; he doesn't seem to understand his own indifference and detachment. He leaves because he wants food and a drink. Although he is willing to make the effort to analyze Homer's abnormality, he walks out at the slightest excuse. And Tod tiptoes out when he leaves because he really doesn't want Homer to wake up and require attention. He has been friendly to Homer mostly because it helped him stay close to Faye, and now Faye has disappeared.