Summary and Analysis Chapter 12


The momentum of this short chapter lies in Homer's fascination with Faye, which parallels his experience with Romola Martin. Homer's hands, described here as "twining like a tangle of thighs," become active, indicating a dangerous awakening of his sexuality. Homer's thought-stream, and West's authorial analysis, make it clear that Homer knows that he must defend himself against his buried impulses, impulses which might destroy him if he were to act upon them.

West's compassion for Homer is implied in his description of Homer's sleep patterns becoming reversed: He has difficulty falling asleep, he awakens easily, and he feels more alive than at any time since the Romola Martin incident. Homer's sexuality is part of a repressed vitality that neither his character nor the people around him will allow to blossom. Homer is a lost soul without any real hope, caught in a tangle of emotions, suspended between a self-protective somnambulism and an impulse towards a dangerous awakening. His singing "The Star Spangled Banner," the only song he knows, to express his joy shows the poverty of his culture and his imagination. The conflicting feelings that drive him to the Greeners' home, bearing wine and flowers, are represented by tears, for he can neither understand nor verbalize his feelings. With Homer's departure for the Greeners' apartment, the novel's action goes back to the moment in Chapter 6 when Tod met Homer.

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