Study Guide

Faye Greener in The Day of the Locust

By Nathanael West

Faye Greener

Everyone knows that Faye Greener has a pretty face (and then some), but no one's quite sure what lies underneath. If anything lies underneath at all, that is.

Is Faye a movie star in the making? Or is she just a delusional seventeen-year-old girl with more ambition than talent? Maybe a second-rate Kardashian in a world before reality TV could make people with no talent famous? As with all things in The Day of the Locust, the only way we can get close to an answer is by asking like a trillion questions.

Life on the D-List

Here's one thing we know for sure, though—Faye is a dreamer. That one's pretty obvious, as Faye can't stop talking about her plan to become the greatest actress of her generation. But that's just scratching the surface. She eventually reveals that "when she wasn't working as an extra," she "often spent the whole day making up stories" (13.70). And these aren't Jack-meets-Jill tall tales—they're descriptions of Faye's surely inevitable success in the film biz.

"These little daydreams of hers," Tod observes, "were what gave such extraordinary color and mystery to her movements" (13.25). Faye is basically a blank slate, allowing the many men in her life to create their own preconceived notion of who she is. Of course, that's assuming that they're even paying attention to the words that are coming out of her mouth, and aren't too busy dying of thirst in her presence. Which, you know, happens a lot.

It's Raining Men

As you can see, there's very little real about Faye. We can see this embodied in the way she speaks: it's an insane mish-mosh of slang more incomprehensible than a Lil B track. Just because Tod can see this, however, doesn't mean he's exempt from it—he claims that "Faye's affectations [...] were so completely artificial that he found them charming" (13.3). As for the other schmucks like Earle and Homer, those guys don't even have a chance of escaping Faye's web.

Despite this surplus of hunky male suitors, Faye ends up with the most unlikely choice for a lover—Miguel. What's up with that? If you're asking us, we'd say that it's because Miguel is actually direct with her. When he wants to have sexy times, he makes sure she knows; when he doesn't, he doesn't. Contrast that with the awkward passive-aggressive shtick favored by Tod and Homer. Plus, the notion of a seventeen-year-old beauty falling in love with a rough-and-tumble Mexican cockfighter is probably too close to movie magic for Faye to pass up.

But really, that's all conjecture on our part, because Faye never gets to tell her side of the story. It's possible that she doesn't even understand her side of the story enough to tell it. In fact, we don't even know whether she runs away with Earle or Miguel in the end. Although Tod might be certain that she'll get along just fine, we're a little less confident that a seventeen-year-old kid will be able to navigate the twisted world of Tinseltown.