Analysis

Chapter 22 opens with Faye performing her stock of various roles. This time, even Claude, an experienced movie man, is fooled and enraptured by Faye's artificial gestures and mannerisms. Faye's performance offers no real connection with her audience, as we see when Claude misinterprets her token "intimate" smile for the real thing. Faye's conversation barely needs the support of the others as she talks endlessly and mindlessly about her career. Her performance is disconcertingly mechanical, and her trademark gestures do not correlate with the words she speaks.

If the interactions between Faye and Claude are characterized by misunderstandings and false connections, Tod completely understands Homer's repressed emotions and the way they manifest in Homer's strange physical behavior. Though Tod has the perceptiveness to potentially make a connection with Homer, he refuses to do so. Earlier in the novel he feels solidarity with and sympathy for Homer, as they are both obsessed with Faye. However, by this point, Tod has lost patience with Faye and with Homer's continued obsession over Faye.

Homer's clumsy and unwelcome attempts at affectionate display implicitly point to the lack of affection between the characters we have seen thus far. His attempts to reach out to Tod seem hopelessly out of place, imported from the Midwest, perhaps. Homer's innocent affection is also undermined by the interspersed lyrics of the song Faye sings inside, which evokes a set of human interactions buffered and anesthetized by drugs.

Back inside, the violence that erupts around Faye replays elements of the garage cockfight, as Abe grabs Earle's genitals in the same way that Abe scratches his gamecock's genitals in an attempt to rouse him for another round of fighting. The violence begins as something of an entertainment: Earle's kick to Abe's stomach replays exactly one of the choreographed moves described in the review of Harry Greener's stage act. The laughter of Claude, Faye and the others recalls the laughter of Harry's audience at his pain. Throughout the episode, even as the violence escalates, Faye seems languidly oblivious to the sexual frenzy she inspires.