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The Day of the Locust


Chapters 4–5

Summary Chapters 4–5

Tod's analysis of Claude's humor speaks to another running element of The Day of the Locust: comedy. The novel is not exactly funny, more often thorizing about humor rather than trying to create it. The laughter within the novel is not the free laughter of innocent enjoyment. Tod's first laugh—at the flimsy architecture of Hollywood in Chapter 1—does not even occur, as it is stifled by his recognition of the pathetic impetus for the architecture. His second laugh—in Chapter 3 at his own dramatic language describing Faye's violent allure—is meant to be self-critical. Laughter continues to figure through the novel, not as a simple expression of enjoyment, but as a tool of confrontation and an expression of ulterior motives or desires.