The Day of the Locust


The Day of the Locust


Nathanael West


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Sunday, December 4, 2011 (2:00-3:30PM)

The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West

Discussion led by Dr. Nick Rosenthal, History Dept.

During his years in Hollywood West wrote The Day of the Locust, a study of the fragility of illusion. Many critics consider it with F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished masterpiece The Last Tycoon (1941) among the best novels written about Hollywood. Set in Hollywood during the Depression, the narrator, Tod Hackett, comes to California in the hope of a career as a painter for movie backdrops but soon joins the disenchanted second-rate actors, technicians, laborers and other characters living on the fringes of the movie industry. Tod tries to seduce Faye Greener; she is seventeen. Her protector is an old man named Homer Simpson. Tod finds work on a film called prophetically “The Burning of Los Angeles,” and the dark comic tale ends in an apocalyptic mob riot outside a Hollywood premiere, as the system runs out of control.



Publication Date

Winter 12-4-2011


Hollywood, Depression, film


American Literature | Arts and Humanities

The Day of the Locust