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The Day of the Locust

Nathanael West


Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Chapter 14


Earle Shoop, a tall, thin cowboy from Arizona, vies for Faye's attention along with Homer and Tod. Tod considers Earle's face to be two- dimensional, with perfectly round eyes and chin, with the rest of his features at right angles. Tod can see why Faye would find Earle handsome, though Tod considers him a "dull fool" and tells Faye as much.

Tod sees Faye in their building one night and asks her out to dinner. Faye cannot go—she has a date with Earle but invites Tod along, promising that Earle will treat this time. Faye orders Todd to meet them at Hodge's, the saddlery store in front of which Earle spends his time standing and staring across the street.

Tod arrives at Hodge's and Earle greets him, "Lo, thar." Tod has always been amused with Earle's Western accent and tries to imitate it back to Earle, but the cowboy never catches on to the joke. Another Westerner, Calvin, squats next to Earle and another man named Hink also approaches. The three men discuss a local rodeo and an upcoming picture that may need Western extras. Hink and Calvin then begin teasing Earle and laughing. The true punch line of their joke arrives when Earle gets angry enough to kick Calvin suddenly in the rear. Tod laughs at this as well, as Earle's quick change from stillness to action looks funny and the genuine violence of the kick is even funnier.

Faye drives up and Earle and Tod get in. At Faye's prodding, Earle confesses that he has no money for dinner after all, but says they can come back to his camp, where he and his friend Miguel have set quail traps. Faye recovers from her extreme annoyance and drives them up to Earle's camp in the hills. When they arrive, Earle and Faye kiss interminably in front of Tod. Faye greets Miguel with a hug. Miguel proudly shows Tod his collection of fighting gamecocks. Tod hears the low, weary song of the trapped quails. Earle collects the quails from the illegal traps and pulls their heads off.

Faye, Tod, and Miguel drink tequila around the fire while Earle prepares the quails to cook. They all eat together and continue drinking and smoking. Tod notices Miguel and Faye smiling knowingly at each other. Miguel begins singing a Spanish song and Faye joins in harmony. She gets up and begins dancing to the rumba beat with her hands on her buttocks. Miguel switches songs and claps while Earle beats the back of the skillet with his club. Miguel gets up and begins to dance with Faye seductively.

Earle gets up and excitedly dances with them. Tod sees Earle begin to swing his club before it even hits Miguel in the head. Faye, with her back to the two men, instinctively runs away into the woods. Tod chases after her, fantasizing about catching her and pulling her down to the ground.

Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 14 Quiz

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Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 14 Quiz



What does Tod think of Faye’s new love interest, Earle Shoop?
He is a fool
He is ugly
Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 14 Quiz

Chapter 14 QUIZ

Test Your Understanding with the Chapter 14 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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