Study Guide

The Day of the Locust Chapter 20

By Nathanael West

Chapter 20

  • It isn't long before Faye is completely bored with Homer, who's as wimpy as a "cringing, clumsy dog" (20.3).
  • Tod learns this firsthand when Homer and Faye show up at his apartment unannounced, telling him to join them for a night on the town.
  • Faye is feeling some type of way. She demands that Homer drink booze, despite the fact that he doesn't, and even forces the liquid down his throat when he refuses.
  • Tod and Faye start dancing. Tod lays his cards on the table, begging her to "sleep with [him]" (20.32). Faye says no—she doesn't love him.
  • The dance ends awkwardly, and Tod and Faye return to the table to find Homer wasted. After a while, a man comes up and asks Faye to dance, which she accepts readily.
  • Homer asks Tod if he knows Earle Shoop, a guy he speaks of with derision. He also complains about Miguel and the "dirty black hen" he's always walking around with (20.79).
  • To Tod's surprise, Homer reveals that both men now live in his garage—Faye had convinced him to do it after Earle and Miguel lost their jobs. Homie is such a pushover.
  • Tod suggests reporting the chickens to the authorities, as it's illegal to raise them in a city neighborhood. Homer seems hesitant.
  • Faye returns, and it's clear that Homer isn't going to mention the whole garage thing. Tod doesn't care, though, and shoots straight.
  • Faye is aghast—if the Earle and Miguel go, she goes, too. Plus, she says, they host killer cockfights. Tod should come over the following night and check one out.
  • Still, Tod notices a definite change in her mood and a sudden increase in her affection towards Homer.