The Day Of The Locust Essay Research
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The Day Of The Locust Essay, Research Paper Nathanael West s The Day of the Locust tells the story of people who have come to California in search of the American Dream. They travel west hoping to escape less than perfect lives and pursue success in Hollywood. The characters in this novel dream of a life of luxury, having lots of money, and living happily ever after. They eventually come to the realization that the seemingly picture perfect life that California represents is not as easy to attain as they once thought. The characters in The Day of the Locust grow discontented and disappointed with their lives and embittered towards the world, which instigates the downfall of this lower level of Hollywood society. Todd Hackett, Faye Greener, and Homer Simpson all depict failed attempts to achieve the American Dream. Todd Hackett is a main character who lives with the continuous threat of failure while he attempts to fulfill his personal dreams amongst the lower classes of Hollywood. Hackett comes to California hoping for a career designing movie scenery, but he faces many obstacles that he must overcome before he can move up in the Hollywood society. Todd s life begins to go downhill as he associates more frequently with the lower levels of Hollywood society. This prevents him from climbing the ladder of fame which he so desperately aspires to accomplish. He is shown a darker side of Hollywood which plays with his emotions and distracts him from his goals. Hackett s main distraction is his attraction to a girl named Faye Greener. He struggles to focus on different aspects of his life unsuccessfully, but he cannot seem to ignore his incessant attraction to Faye. One example of this is a scene when Todd is getting ready to go out, but his eyes [keep] straying to the photograph…a picture of Faye Greener (67). As displayed in this quote, Todd s life is occupied with the need to be loved by Faye. This compulsion eventually leaves Todd with feelings of failure and breaks him down. Faye could only love a handsome man and would only let a wealthy man love her (67). Faye constantly disregards Todd s feelings for her, slowly crushing his dream life. Faye s insincere discernment of love is a prevalent example of Hollywood s degenerative impact upon those in search of materialistic success. Todd s failed efforts to gain the love of Faye Greener characterize his downfall and failure to aspire to his dreams and goals. While continuing to pay no attention to Todd, Faye Greener strives to become famous among the movie scene in Hollywood. Her beauty and allure are only surpassed by her rapaciousness and materialism. A dim cognizance of these traits lead her to blame herself for her father s death. I killed him (122), Faye exclaims realizing that she had once informed him that if he could not buy her what she wanted that she would leave him to find someone who could. As Faye faces her guilt for her father s demise, she furthermore sacrifices her moral beliefs when she works as a prostitute to afford her father s funeral. Miss Greener s life strays more distant from her dreams as she finds herself being sucked deeper into the Hollywood world of sex, drugs, and deceit. Faye s selfishness not only shatters her dreams, but correspondingly plays with the emotions and lives of others. Her constant flirting leads to fights between Earle Shoop and Miquel, eventually transforming two friends into loathing ememies. At the same time, she drives Homer Simpson to madness. Faye continuously makes herself the center of trouble while sacrificing other people s emotions simply to satisfy her desperate need for love. She is so wrapped up in herself that reality never intervenes (330). Faye Greener is a prime example of how materialism and superficiality can stem form the pursuit of the American Dream. Homer Simpson comes to California with a different goal than the other characters in The Day of the Locust.