Summary and Analysis Chapter 23


In Homer's absence, Faye's teasing of the remaining men increases, and soon she creates a small riot. When she dances with Miguel, his way of holding her and her increasingly revealing pajamas provoke the other men; they feel that it won't be long until Faye and Miguel go to bed together. Homer has locked himself in his room to protect himself against these carryings-on, and Tod again becomes concerned for Homer. Soon, Tod is witnessing a scene similar to the one at camp when Faye danced with Miguel and provoked Earle to violence. Here, the dwarf Abe Kusich plays a role like Earle's in the earlier scene, for when Faye begins to dance with Earle, Abe is sexually aroused and tries desperately to cut in on Earle. When Earle kicks Abe away, the dwarf retaliates by assaulting Earle in the groin, a successful, temporary castration, for Earle is incapacitated by the pain. This time, Miguel comes to the rescue of Earle, but in the next chapter these two men will again be bitter rivals, for in West's world, sex always triumphs over friendship. Everyone stares at Faye, and Tod is swept back into his fascination with her, his lust intensified by her increasing state of undress. Tod makes an advance toward her, but she rebuffs him casually; her suddenly declaring that she is going to bed prepares for her sexual scene with Miguel. She plays the men off against one another and then makes her own choices. Abe wants company in the pursuit of girls (whores), but Earle is hurt, Miguel has disappeared, and both Tod and Claude are not interested in a commercial product.

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