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The Day of the Locust

Nathanael West


Chapter 27

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Chapter 27

Chapter 27

Chapter 27


Tod leaves the restaurant and notices spotlights roving around Kahn's Persian Palace Theatre in honor of a world premiere film. Tod, seeing from a clock that it is only 6:15 P.M., decides to go look at the crowds and let Homer sleep for another hour.

Thousands of people have already gathered outside Kahn's to wait for the movie stars to appear in a couple of hours. Tod walks in a lane policemen have created between the crowd and the theater. He notices how careful the police are to appear good-natured toward the crowd. The police are too busy to chase him back across the street, so he walks on through the lane. Tod hears the crowd jeer at his clothing and his walk. The crowd already overflows its police-line blocked boundary.

A man exaggeratedly announces into a microphone how large the crowd is and holds the microphone out to record the crowd's roar. A policeman asks the man to stand outside earshot of the people. Tod notices that the crowd is made up of lower- middle class people, not working men. Someone from the crowd knocks Tod's hat off his head and someone kicks his rear end when he bends to pick it up. Tod wins the crowd's sympathy, however, by laughing along with them. He pushes slowly through the group to the other side and finds a seat on a low wall next to a parking lot.

Tod watches new arrivals and notices that they do not seem arrogant until they join the group. The crowd is comprised of people whose boredom and disappointment have made them savage and bitter. They have worked laborious jobs all their lives and saved their money to fulfill their dream of seeking leisure in California, only to find that the California dream is empty and that they are bored with what it offers. Violence becomes the only means of alleviating their boredom, but even this does not happen frequently or horribly enough.

Tod, fearing that the growing mob will trap him, begins to leave for Homer's but suddenly spots Homer's head in the crowd. Homer is still in his nightgown with his pants pulled up over it. He has two suitcases with him and tells Tod that he is heading back to Iowa. Tod tries to convince Homer to take a cab with him, but Homer is unresponsive and then aggressive, shouting "thief" when Tod tries to carry his suitcase for him.

Homer sits down on a bench and Tod stands to the side watching him. Suddenly, Tod notices Adore Loomis standing behind a tree trying to play pranks on Homer. Annoyed that Homer is not reacting to his pranks, Adore picks up a stone and throws it at Homer's face. Homer gets up off the bench and chases Adore, knocking the boy down and stomping on him repeatedly. Tod tries to pull Homer away, but is unable.

Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 27 Quiz

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Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 27 Quiz



What has attracted the large crowd that Tod sees gathered behind police lines?
A film premiere
A crime scene
Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 27 Quiz

Chapter 27 QUIZ

Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 27 Quiz

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silver - not shoe polish

by anon_2223155894, March 03, 2015

In the resume of ch. 11 you state that Harry was trying to sell shoe polish - not true!

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