What we see Is not always what we get. In some cases we are prepared to get what we want and in others, it is unexpected and not what we hoped it would be. This theme, and a few others, can be seen in the book, The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West and can be portrayed through the tone, themes, characters and conflict of the story line and apprehension that the American dream is in fact an illusion. Throughout the plot, we realize, to get what we want may not always be in our best interest.
When It comes to the American dream, It usually signifies new opportunities In life that may or may not turn out to be what you dreamed of It really being. The American dream is known for being the national character of the united States which sets deals for prosperity and success but it usually becomes an illusion to most people. The American dream today implies opportunities not only for Americans, but for anyone who has a dream to achieve prosperity through hard work.
This Includes the idea that “anything is possible” gang people hope to begin new Journeys In their lives for a better future. Most people believe they are living the American dream but soon wake up to realize that everything they dreamed of was an fantasy, because they feel that what they are living for is no longer what they want in life and what is best for them. The Day of the Locust is a novel about the falseness of Hollywood which shows a dark side of California.
When the protagonist, Todd Hackett moves to California he is hoping to achieve his dream for designing movie scenes, but has many obstacles to overcome before achieving his life-time goal; finding work, ND dealing with his feelings towards Fay, an attractive, young, aspiring actress who happens to be his neighbor. Todd does not know how to react to Fay’s confidence and ability to easily manipulate men, including himself, so he deals with it the best way he can. He listens to her stories and rants, but he is getting no closer to winning her affections; In fact he is being pushed away and this Is when Miguel and Earl are Introduced.
Earl Is one of Fay’s ‘boyfriends’ In the novel, another Including a brief fling with Homer, another Important character In the novel. Todd and Homer become fast friends and they realize they are both losing their chance with Fay and this upsets them. Both men have a dream in common, they both want Fay, she is their American dream. In addition, that they both want her, neither of them is getting closer to winning her affections and they are struggling to accept that. Fay has a mind of her own and she always gets what she wants and this raises conflict between all the men In the novel, Miguel, Earl, Homer and Todd.
The conflict is resembled through competition between the characters. They each have heir own set of goals that create an intense quarrel that leads each one of them to their own downfalls. All of the men want Fay; having no limits in their actions they’ll do anything possible to obtain her even if they have to fight against one another. In reality, Fay Is only looking at the men for Interest and a secure future for herself. Fay Is later seen as a competitor herself. She still wants the American dream; living back by another person.
From the beginning of the novel, West portrays the tone, of the dirty thirties in relation to the great depression. The dirty thirties are seen through Fay’s actions of wanting to become an actress. She dresses and acts proactively which expresses her inner motivations and lack of morality. The Great Depression is seen though Todd and Homer. They have lost what they have dreamed of and their only motivation now is Fay, and that dream is fading swiftly. This shows that their dream was an illusion all along. West sets the mood as bitter and unsympathetic and all the characters are quick in Judging one another.
The novel is written in three diverse points of view, Toad’s, Homer’s and an omniscient orator. West also takes the fantasy of star-struck Hollywood that leads to the failure meeting many who come in search of the fantasy. He As West wrote that the newcomers’ dreams have been forced to failure; he proved that the American dream is an illusion. Although the American dream is what everyone wants to aim for in hopes off better life, it turns out to be what you never thought it would lead to. It leads to obstacles that make you realize that your American dream is no longer your goal.
The characters in The Day of the Locust feel as if they have been heated and not given the opportunity to live their life to their full expectations; they realize they have been living a fake life all along. It is the discontent and boredom that leads to the downfall of Hollywood society; including Todd Hackett, Homer Simpson, and Fay Greener. For example when homer was motivated to live his life in the dark side. He is known for being a quiet and pathetic man who does not have much to say. West has implied that there is a parallel between Homer’s repressed violence and the violence that breaks him out in the Hollywood norm.
When Homer’s aggressions bust at last, he becomes murderous. Todd is quite similar to Homer, he too has not much to say but when he realizes that he is losing Fay, he breaks loose of his normal conservative manner and speaks out about doing horrible things to Fay because she will not acknowledge him on her own. Fay on the other hand is the complete opposite of these men. She is very loud and cocky and always needs to be in the centre of attention. This is why she is always with a man and manipulates him to her desires.
All of these characters are far room perfect but they deal with their problems with how they see it is best fit. These downfalls have developed from the illusions from a sense of betrayal, and now wait to feed on the misfortunes of other individuals. Toad’s career and love problems, Fay’s personal choices of morals and beliefs, and Homer’s naive lovesick actions are all different but great examples of failure to achieve personal and heart-aching dreams in Hollywood. Proving that in fact, the American Dream is a fade and you do not always get what you want.