Study Guide

The Day of the Locust Chapter 21

By Nathanael West

Chapter 21

  • Tod tells the story about Earle and Miguel to Claude Estee, who decides he simply must come along to the cockfight. The two men arrive at night and see a group of people gathered beside the garage.
  • It's Abe, Miguel, and Earle. They've got bad news: the cockfight was cancelled because the competitor was a no-show.
  • The men sit down. Abe is being a grump, as usual, causing Earle to laugh at him, which makes Abe even grumpier.
  • Miguel shows off his fighting bird to Claude. This excites Claude, and he offers to buy a bird to challenge Miguel's because he "just wants to see a fight" (21.40).
  • Abe immediately deems himself Claude's manager. He inspects the bird Miguel chooses for them, scoffing when he sees a hairline crack on the bird's upper beak.
  • The fight begins. Miguel's bird dominates easily, even tearing off the other chicken's beak after several exchanges. Although Claude's chicken fights hard, it's killed.