Summary and Analysis Chapter 3


The first three chapters combine exposition, retrospection, and some action; here, West finishes his exposition about Tod and is ready to place him in continuous scenes. Faye, who has for some time been a figure of painful and teasing attraction for Tod, is first described in her tiny film role as a woman in a harem. Tod's photograph of her from that movie awakens in him his violent lust for her. Essentially talentless, Faye's taut sexual appeal is, she hopes, her ticket to success, while Tod's plainness denies him the hope for anything except a surface friendship. We learn later that Faye, if she cannot have immediate theatrical success, will take as an alternative only dynamic sexual satisfaction. Tod can supply neither. In Tod's view, Faye's sexual invitation is to death rather than to love; however, it is an invitation that Tod welcomes, perversely. He longs for sex with her as if it were destruction — perhaps an ultimate sexual thrill combined with the desire to rub out his own divided self. Faye manipulates Tod the way everyone in Hollywood manipulates everyone else, and Tod seems willing to be a passive victim merely for the faint hope of obtaining forbidden satisfactions.

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