The Day of the Locust

by: Nathanael West

Faye Greener

Characters Faye Greener

In many ways, Faye is as empty a character as Homer. In the novel's distinction between audience and performers, she is clearly one of the performers. Like her father, Harry, Faye is constantly performing, but unskillfully—like her father, she is capable of only bluntly artificial mannerisms and gestures. Faye's beauty, however, ensures that those around her are nonetheless convinced and entranced by her performances. Faye's beauty and performance are a source of tension, as men constantly misunderstand her empty affection and flirting and become frustrated when they discover that she has no romantic intentions. Tod, in particular, has violent feelings towards Faye—violent feelings that are not easily separated from his attraction to her. These violent feelings stem from Tod's sense that Faye is entirely self-contained and self-sufficient. Faye cheers herself with a set of fantasies that consist of stock Hollywood plot lines, fantasies that require no outside encouragement from others. If West had written a novel that encouraged us to sympathize with characters, Faye would certainly earn our sympathy, as she begins the novel a mere child and ends a orphaned sex-pot. However, Tod, who holds the novel's dominant perspective, holds Faye accountable—through her status as both attractive woman and performer—for much of the dangerous bitterness of the characters.