The Day of the Locust

by: Nathanael West

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson stands out in The Day of the Locust because he does not fit easily into the categories that Tod has created—Homer is certainly not a performer, like Faye or Harry, but he is not a member of the crowds that Tod hopes to paint either. Nonetheless, Homer is the nearest character to these disillusioned crowds who have come to California to die, and remain on the margins of the novel. Homer is an outsider, like Tod, but from the Midwest rather than the East. Unlike Tod, however, Homer is purposeless, his only aim being to forget an awkward sexual encounter he had with a tenant in the hotel in Iowa where he worked as a bookkeeper. Homer, successful at this repression, is a largely empty character. His liveliest features are his oversized hands, which fidget endlessly and act as an outlet for his repressed desires. A small part of the novel focuses on Homer's point of view, emphasizing the blankness of Homer's daily life and the fear and surprise that he feels when garish Hollywood intrudes upon it. Early in the novel, Tod judges that Homer is not quite one of the "starers," as Homer is shy instead of bitter. Yet, as the novel continues and Homer gives up his hope of sealing himself off from the world—away from sexual women especially—his shyness and meekness become instruments of a new bitterness. Homer victimizes others with his subservience in a passive- aggressive manner. This mutual victimization creates unresolvable tension that eventually erupts into the catastrophic violence that occurs at the end of the novel.