Harry came into the kitchen still looking sick, but smiling. Faye and Harry talked to each other as though their fight had not taken place. Homer gave Harry a snack. Harry asked Homer if he lived alone and if he would consider taking boarders. Homer was mildly offended, but before he could answer, Faye rebuked her father and told him it was time to leave. Faye gave Homer her hand and Homer would not let go. Faye and Harry thanked Homer and Faye gave Homer their address. While Faye got her car, Harry reminded Homer of his shoe polish order, so Homer slipped Harry one dollar. Harry became angry and humiliated by accepting the patronage of "a sucker" like Homer. Harry and Faye drove away, and Harry did not look at Homer.

After the Greeners left, Homer sat in his back yard watching at his hands jerk around. Over the next few days he thought of Faye often, although he knew that romantic involvement would break down his defense and leave him "destroyed." Homer tried to sleep, but could not fall asleep as easily as he used to. He could not stay asleep either, and felt more awake than he ever had since the incident with Miss Martin.

Homer sang to fill up the house and thought of the trips he might take, but knew deep down that he would never buy a radio or take a trip. He began crying, which did not leave him feeling better, because he is one of those people whose sorrow is permanent. Homer eventually cried himself to sleep. The next day he decided to take a walk, which led him past the Greeners' building, the Bernardino Arms. Knowing he had given up his internal struggle to forget about Faye, Homer looked up their name in the building lobby and returned the next day with flowers for Faye and wine for Harry.


Chapter 11 offers of a flurry of activity after the comparative dullness of the descriptions of Homer's daily life in the previous chapters. Harry and Faye stand as examples of what Tod has labeled the "masqueraders." Harry's clowning act, now used to sell silver polish, consists of him playing the victim—both as the comic physical victim of invisible kicks or bumps in the carpet, and as the victim of those buyers who refuse or question his product. This clowning seeks to conceal the fact that it is Harry himself who regularly victimizes customers, or at least tries to take advantage of them. We see this clearly when Harry punishes Homer so much with his trademark "victim's laugh" that Homer asks him to stop. This episode further highlights West's idea of the difficulty of determining who exploits whom in the performer-audience dynamic. Just as Harry's victim clown act is intended to make a victim of Homer, the ploy equally turns back on Harry himself. Harry is so used to his clowning that it has become something of a constriction. At one point, he is likened to a "mechanical toy" that goes haywire and is passively spun "through his entire repertoire." Harry's acting is so dominant that at several points in Chapter 11 he himself cannot tell when he is truly sick and when he is still acting.

Faye conducts her own performance upon entering Homer's house. This is the first full view we have of Faye. The childish spontaneity her summer outfit suggests contrasts sharply with her thorough performance of sexual gestures. In this sense, Faye, like her father, is portrayed as a passive conduit of practiced mechanical gestures.

Just as we have seen that Tod spends time at Harry's bedside when he is sick, Homer temporarily plays a caring, paternal role toward the sick Harry and the hungry Faye. Homer's compassion—though not deeply felt—stands in contrast to Faye's initial indifference and subsequent artificially dramatic concern. Furthermore, Homer's shyness and inability to communicate with others contrasts sharply with Faye's and Harry's aggressive and loud communication by way of acted roles, demonic laughter (on Harry's part), and sexualized jingles (on Faye's part). Harry and Faye do not read each other very well: Faye, for example, does not even realize she is antagonizing Harry with her clearly artificial, overdramatic concern. Their father-daughter communication consists mainly of ritual set pieces, such as their laughter and "Jeepers Creepers" argument, which ends in violence and anger.