Study Guide

The Day of the Locust Chapter 4

By Nathanael West

Chapter 4

  • Claude is a "successful screen writer" who lives in a garish reproduction of a Southern plantation house (4.1). He even pretends to be an old Southern gentleman. It's weird.
  • Tod ends up chatting with Claude's wife, Alice, and her friend Joan Schwartzen. Their conversation is so heavy on the slang that we might as well be reading A Clockwork Orange.
  • Joan grabs Tod and leads him to a group of men she assumes are talking about sex. They're actually talking about business. Disappointed, Joan takes Tod to the pool.
  • Joan proudly shows Tod the Estee's latest architectural feature: a "life-size, realistic reproduction" of a dead horse at the bottom of the pool (4.36). Joan is shocked that Tod isn't impressed.
  • Later that night, Tod and Claude are chatting in the library. Tod wants to go home, but Claude convinces him to come to Audrey Jenning's place—which we assume is a whorehouse.
  • But the guys are not going there for "sport," as Tod says; they're going to watch a movie.