In “The Day of the Locust,” written by Nathanael West, he portrays the hardship of living in a city like Los Angeles where people go to fulfil their dreams but only find sorrow and disappointment. I particularly liked a passage located at the end of the novel. West writes, “Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and went to the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, war. This daily diet made sophisticates of them. The sun is a joke. Oranges can’t titillate their jaded palates. Nothing can ever be violent enough to make taut their slack minds and bodies. They have been cheated and betrayed. They have slaved and saved for nothing” (West, pg. 178). This passage takes place during the riot scene at the end of the book. Tod is thrown up against a fence and has time to analyze the angry mob as a whole. He realizes that all of these people have nothing better to do but stand around and start trouble because they are so bored with their lives. They came to Los Angeles for excitement and to fulfill the “American Dream,” but they were left with nothing but unemployment and grief. The worst part about it is that that these people are obligated to stay in the city even though they are not living under good conditions. Tom uses a phrase to describe these people when he says they have “come to California to die.” What he means by this is that these people are going nowhere in life.
Another interesting part about this passage that I liked was the fact that the riot scene is exactly what Tod pictured when he talked about painting his picture that he would call “The Burning of Los Angeles.” The mob is the main portion of the painting, and Faye would be the one whom the crowd is chasing. The whole idea of the angry mob is to depict the people of Los Angeles who are...
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