The Day of the Locust Essay

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Though not much of The Day of the Locust concerns cinema production, West seems to have perceived that an essence of the Hollywood "art" was to provide mechanical fantasies of violent eroticism for repressed mass America. His imagery for Los Angeles insists strongly on machined fantasy, fabricated dreams which become grotesque monstrosities. So, too, with his often wryly amusing descriptions of his caricature people. For example, Earl Shoup, Faye's stud and a minor cowboy actor, costumed in Western clothes, gestures, and clichés, "had a two dimensional face that a talented child might have drawn with a ruler and a compass." The flat symmetry of features and the coloring like a wash "completed his resemblance to a mechanical drawing." A mechanical and two-dimensional persona, his responses, mostly laconic posing and sex and violence, lack most fuller human depth.

Throughout the fiction, West plays variations on the mechanical...

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This section contains 1,685 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Day of the Locust Study Guide
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