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The Day of the Locust

Nathanael West

Summary and Analysis Chapter 9

As Homer finishes the bath that had made his mind return to his experience with Romola Martin, and then goes out to buy groceries, timidly and stealthily, the depiction of his fearful and repressed character continues. His waves of emotion which collapse before they can crest parallel his experience with Romola Martin, where his fumbling attempt at sex collapsed at the sound of a ringing telephone. Going forth to buy food for his dinner, he wants to run through the warm evening because to linger would awaken the senses he fears. Typically, he becomes an easy mark for a beggar, who resembles yet another of the threatening Hollywood masses who stare. The food market he enters is like a movie theater, its lights casting a falsifying glow across the food products — another tacky Hollywood scene. Homer's choosing to buy canned soup, sardines, and crackers instead of the elaborately displayed foods is in character — he prefers unimaginative and unchallenging simplicities. Even this simple foray has strained him so much that he must take a taxi home.