“The Day of the Locust” Novel by Nathanael West Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jan 27th, 2021

Nathaniel West presents his own vision of life in the cinema industry in the novel called The Day of Locust. By describing the story of Tod Hacket, West draws parallels to other characters of the novel to emphasize the frames within which they were placed and which prevent them from revealing their talents and abilities. Indeed, the writer undermines Hollywood’s power to divide people into talented and untalented, ambitious, and unmotivated. All the characters, including the main hero, are represented as fringes of the movie industry that stand apart from the popular movie stars and producers. Nevertheless, they are dreaming of becoming more influential and important.

They strive to become recognized and famous in Hollywood and, therefore, they search for any opportunity to be promoted. In addition, because the movie relates to the period of the Great Depression in America, all the characters of the novel are obsessed with the American Dream, a stereotype, and an illusionary vision of happiness and wealth. Hollywood, therefore, is a kind of paradise for those who look for a better life. Therefore, most of the characters in the novel are represented as shallow, empty, and purposeless. All of them correspond to the stereotypic representation of Hollywood film heroes. Usage of grotesque imaginary and situations allows West to establish his novel as an illusionary satire that heavily criticizes Hollywood for distracting people from reality and trapping them in vanity and perversity of the movie industry. The novel is full of metaphors and symbols suggesting the writer’s orientation on representing marginal Jewish society in America.

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