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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Images and structure in Nathanael West's novel satires Alexander , Gordon Burnett 1970

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IMAGES AND STRUCTURE IN NATHANAEL WEST'S NOVEL SATIRES  by  Gordon Burnett  Alexander  B. A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS' FOR THE DEGREE OF  Master o f A r t s i n the Department of English  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming required  to the  standard.  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970  In presenting  t h i s thesis in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and i further agree that! permission for extensive for s c h o l a r l y purposes may by his representatives.  study,  copying of t h i s thesis  be granted by the Head of my Department or It i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain shall not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission.  Department of The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  Date  Jlf*^?^  (fTo-  ABSTRACT  Before we can judge a w r i t e r , we must t e n t a t i v e l y decide upon the a p p r o p r i a t e c r i t e r i a by which to measure his  achievement,  V a r i o u s c r i t i c s have p r a i s e d  Nathanael  West f o r the e x a c t t h i n g s f o r which o t h e r s have damned him. T h i s study i s an attempt work, and must be  to c l a r i f y the nature o f West's  thereby to c l a r i f y the grounds upon which he  judged. The nature o f h i s f i c t i o n a l world i s c r u c i a l .  This  study puts West's images, which are l a r g e l y r e s p o n s i b l e for  the c r e a t i o n o f the f i c t i o n a l world and  into f i v e  groups, each of which e x h i b i t s a s e p a r a t i o n  of q u a l i t i e s . are  i t s characters,  A f t e r the r e s u l t s o f West's d i v i d e d images  seen, the study c o n s i d e r s the f u n c t i o n of p l o t w i t h i n  West's f o u r works.  E s s e n t i a l l y , the p l o t , l i k e  the  extremely l i m i t e d c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , enables us t o see the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n the f i c t i o n a l world at  and,  the same time, prevents us f r o m becoming e m o t i o n a l l y  i n v o l v e d w i t h the f i c t i o n a l world and  c h a r a c t e r s as  we n o r m a l l y do in, n o v e l s . Thus West i s seen as a s a t i r i s t who,  i n h i s best  works, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day o f the Locust, uses  ii  the conventions  o f the n o v e l w i t h  considerable  show us the a l l - p e r v a s i v e n e s s o f i l l u s i o n u n l i k e most s a t i r i s t s ,  s k i l l to  in life.  But,  West p r o v i d e s no a l t e r n a t i v e s and  does not even p r o v i d e a sense o f ^what ought to be" i n h i s work.  He merely r e c o r d s h i s v i s i o n i n such a way t h a t  we can see and a r e compelled to acknowledge the nature o f his  v i s i o n o f l i f e and o f e x i s t e n c e .  West uses h i s p l o t s  to o r d e r h i s images i n t o a coherent, l o g i c a l p a t t e r n which s e t s f o r t h the consequences of man's being d i v i d e d w i t h i n and  among h i m s e l f . When we see that West i s p r i m a r i l y a s a t i r i s t  working w i t h i n the conventions  o f the n o v e l , we can  understand the f l a t n e s s o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s , t h e i r d i v i d e d natures,  the h o r r i b l e i r o n i e s o f the p l o t , the c r y p t i c  treatment o f events, and the c o n c e n t r a t i o n upon images. We can, i n f a c t , see t h a t West was an e x c e l l e n t s a t i r i s t who succeeded i n h i s attempt to use the n o v e l as a vehicle f o r satire.  PREFACE  E v e r y student owes h i s teachers h i s s i n c e r e  gratitude.  I am t h a n k f u l f o r t h i s o p p o r t u n i t y to acknowledge those who, I now r e a l i z e ,  taught me most:  Dr. S t a n l e y Read,  who reminded me many times t h a t the most important  thing  i n the study of l i t e r a t u r e i s t o enjoy i t and h e l p o t h e r s to enjoy i t , and Dr. P h i l i p Pinkus, who taught me most of what I know about  satire.  study owe t h e i r thanks  Future r e a d e r s o f t h i s  f o r what  c l a r i t y and l o g i c i t  e x h i b i t s to P r o f e s s o r s B i l l Messenger, David Evans, and Ian Ross, who  i n different  ways and a t d i f f e r e n t  times  f o r c e d me t o be more coherent; most of i t s d e f i c i e n c i e s r e f l e c t my  i n a b i l i t y to l e a r n from these men, and the  rest arise  from my stubbornness  t o change a word here and  a paragraph t h e r e . And, o f course, there i s the t y p i s t  . . . .  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter I. II. III. IV. V.  Page INTRODUCTION  1  KINDS OF IMAGES  13  STRUCTURE AS DEVICE  62  NOVELS AS SATIRE  93  THE MEASURE OF WEST'S ACHIEVEMENT  FOOTNOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY  106 .  117 127  Beauty i n a r t reminds one what i s worth w h i l e . . . . You f e e l bucked up when you come on a s w i f t moving thought i n P l a t o or on a f i n e l i n e i n a s t a t u e . Even t h i s pother about gods reminds one that something i s worth w h i l e . S a t i r e reminds one that c e r t a i n t h i n g s are not worth w h i l e . I t draws one to c o n s i d e r time wasted.  The s e r i o u s a r t i s t . . . p r e s e n t s the image o f h i s d e s i r e , of h i s h a t e , o r h i s i n d i f f e r e n c e as p r e c i s e l y t h a t , as p r e c i s e l y the image of h i s own d e s i r e , hate o r i n d i f f e r e n c e . The more p r e c i s e h i s r e c o r d the more l a s t i n g and u n a s s a i l a b l e h i s work of a r t . E z r a Pound "The S e r i o u s A r t i s t "  CHAPTER I  INTRODUCTION  U n t i l r e c e n t l y , Nathanael West has been a  little-  known and  seldom-studied American writer... H i s works,  published  between 1930  from the p r e s s .  Only one  B a l s o S n e l l greeted o f 500  and  f e l l almost  review of The Dream L i f e  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ,  take advantage o f the good reviews, and c o p i e s were s o l d .  published 1500  West:  800  Million,  s a l e s were h i s  had  a mixed r e c e p t i o n  2  and  only  However, West's r e p u t a t i o n  s t e a d i l y s i n c e h i s death i n 1940,  America i n the The  l e s s than  of the L o c u s t , West's l a s t work,  In 1939,  considered  but  unable to  poor reviews and  c o p i e s were s o l d .  increased now  Day  1  With h i s t h i r d book, A Cool  West f a r e d even worse: The  of  published  received generally favorable reviews,  the p u b l i s h e r , b e i n g n e a r l y bankrupt, was  reward.  stillborn  i t s f i r s t publication, a printing  copies i n 1931.  i n 1933,  1940;  and  he  has is  to be among the major c h r o n i c l e r s o f 1930*s.  3  p u b l i c a t i o n i n 1961  An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e S t u d y  o f James L i g h t ' s Nathanael 4  marked the beginning  of  2  a s e r i o u s r e c o n s i d e r a t i o n of a r e l a t i v e l y f o r g o t t e n author.  I t i n c l u d e s an e x t e n s i v e biography o f West,  and s i n c e the present study i s not about West but about h i s work, I recommend L i g h t ' s book as an e x c e l l e n t treatment  o f West's t r a g i c l i f e .  s t u d i e s have been p u b l i s h e d : Nathanael  West;  V i c t o r Gomerchero*s 5  The I r o n i c Prophet  Reid's The F i c t i o n of Nathanael Promised  Two o t h e r f u l l - l e n g t h  Land (1967).  course, v a l u a b l e .  (1964)  West:  and R a n d a l l  No Redeemer, No  A l l o f these works are* o f  But n e i t h e r they nor the numerous  s c h o l a r l y a r t i c l e s which have been p u b l i s h e d a t t a c k headon the b a s i c problem of the nature o f West's and form.  technique  L i g h t , f o r example * e x p l a i n s the p e c u l i a r  d i v i s i o n i n West's works between acceptance  and r e j e c t i o n  o f s u f f e r i n g i n terms o f West's b e i n g a second Jew, whereas I b e l i e v e i t i s more important  generation  to i d e n t i f y  the f o r m a l f e a t u r e s o f the works which r e f l e c t such a division.  R a n d a l l Reid's book, on the other hand, d e a l s  w i t h s t y l i s t i c a s p e c t s o f West's work a t c o n s i d e r a b l e l e n g t h , and y e t the word " s a t i r e " does not appear i n i t s e n t i r e 174 pages.  V i c t o r Comerchero, l i k e R e i d ,  a n a l y z e s West's themes and techniques, but he d e a l s m a i n l y with West's use o f cliche'd  language.  3  However, these c r i t i c s do not attempt  t o answer the  q u e s t i o n which I t h i n k i s b a s i c to an understanding o f West: a r e Nathanael  West's works n o v e l s o r s a t i r e s ?  to put i t i n a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t form: relationship  Or,  8  what i s the  between novel and s a t i r e i n West's work?  The q u e s t i o n must be answered, a t l e a s t t e n t a t i v e l y , i f we are t o understand to understand understand  West's work a t a l l . And, i f we a r e  contemporary s a t i r e s and n o v e l s , we must  their relationship  modern works.  i n West and o t h e r e a r l i e r  Before we can judge West as a w r i t e r we  must know what standards and c r i t e r i a we should a p p l y to h i s work, and a t the same time how West, as a w r i t e r , experimented and  criteria.  w i t h prose f i c t i o n and s e t new  standards  I f we can decide whether West i s a  o r a n o v e l i s t , o r some combination  o f the two, we  satirist will  have both a b e t t e r i n s i g h t i n t o h i s work and a b e t t e r understanding o f the development of s a t i r e and the n o v e l . S a t i r i s t s have t r a d i t i o n a l l y used o t h e r genres, and  the n o v e l i s no e x c e p t i o n .  I f we judge a s a t i r e  w r i t t e n i n n o v e l form by the standards of a novel we find  the work f a i l s a s a n o v e l .  w i l l be f a l l a c i o u s .  will  The judgement, however,  Thus, before we can judge West's  work, which i s c l e a r l y n o v e l ! s t i c , we must decide whether the a p p r o p r i a t e c r i t e r i a a r e those o f the n o v e l o r s a t i r e .  4  An examination o f the imagery West uses t o c r e a t e h i s f i c t i o n a l world and i t s c h a r a c t e r s i s the f i r s t towards an answer t o these, q u e s t i o n s .  step  I think the imagery Q  i s c e n t r a l because, f o l l o w i n g P h i l i p Pinkus* argument, it  i s through the imagery that we come to see the a r t i s t ' s  vision of l i f e ,  and i f the work i s a s a t i r e i t i s through  i t s imagery t h a t we comprehend the s a t i r i s t ' s of "evll'?.^ a vision.  0  The s a t i r i c v i s i o n ,  perception  then, l i t e r a l l y p r e s e n t s  To date, West's c r i t i c s have d i s c u s s e d h i s  images^: as they r e l a t e to h i s themes, and h i s f i c t i o n a l world as i t r e l a t e s t o h i s c h a r a c t e r s .  I propose to  i n v e r t the a n a l y s i s , and t o c o n c e n t r a t e on the images. By so d o i n g I hope t o show the k i n d o f f i c t i o n a l world West c r e a t e s and, f u r t h e r , I hope t o demonstrate the r e l a t i o n s h i p between s a t i r e and n o v e l w i t h i n h i s work. Throughout, I w i l l be u s i n g "image" t o r e f e r t o concrete p i c t u r e s c r e a t e d i n West's work.  And, because West i s  so p i c t o r i a l i n h i s n a r r a t i o n , I w i l l a l s o use the phrase "image-event'' t o r e f e r to image c l u s t e r s which c o n s t i t u t e a complete event. My b a s i c premise i s t h a t a work* s imagery both c r e a t e s and r e i n f o r c e s our i m p r e s s i o n o f the world presented i n the work; if>. we are to understand the f i c t i o n a l world and i t s c h a r a c t e r s , we must know how - they a r e c r e a t e d .  Beyond a knowledge of the imagery,  5  we must a l s o understand s t r u c t u r e w i t h i n a work.  the use of p l o t to p r o v i d e Only a f t e r an examination o f  both these a s p e c t s o f West's work can we attempt to say whether West i s a s a t i r i s t or a n o v e l i s t , o r c l a r i f y the nature o f h i s enigmatic works. The s t a r t i n g p o i n t i s the f a c t that West's world has had a mixed r e c e p t i o n .  fictional  I g n o r i n g the v a r y i n g  degrees of a p p r o b a t i o n o r d i s a p p r o b a t i o n , a v e r y b r i e f look a t the c r i t i c s w i l l demonstrate A. M. Tibbetts  the d i v i s i o n .  has s a i d that West's world i s not  complete  and r e c o g n i z a b l e : " H i s world was cut i n two--half o f i t was m i s s i n g . + n l  F u r t h e r , "the t r o u b l e i s . . . that the  m i s s i n g h a l f i s the most important p a r t o f an a r t i s t ' s i n v e n t i o n — r e a l people doing r e a l  things.  There i s  simply not enough i n West's two best n o v e l s about r e c o g n i z a b l e people and r e c o g n i z a b l e s i t u a t i o n s . "  1 2  Henry Popkin concurs w i t h Tibbetts' e v a l u a t i o n of West's fictional  world, i f not with the c r i t i c i s m :  world i s weird, u n r e a l , d i s t o r t e d , speeded  "West's up." ; 1 3  W i l l i a m White a l s o f e e l s t h a t Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day o f the L o c u s t a r e " f a n t a s t i c and exaggerated i n theme and  treatment."  1 4  Another group o f r e a d e r s and c r i t i c s has r e a c t e d d i f f e r e n t l y to West's w o r l d .  A l l a n Seager i s " o f the  o p i n i o n t h a t The Day of the L o c u s t was n o t f a n t a s y  6  imagined, but f a n t a s y s e e n . "  1 0  R. B. Gehman s t r a d d l e s  the fence when he says t h a t West " c o n s t r u c t e d scenes t h a t were not o n l y m i r a c u l o u s i n t h e i r d e s c r i p t i v e accuracy but a l s o by t h e i r unashamed i n t e n s i t y were so f a r above r e a l i s m as t o embarrass, acknowledging,  o r f r i g h t e n , the r e a d e r i n t o  almost a g a i n s t h i s w i l l ,  and t e r r i f y i n g r e a l i t y o f r e a l i t y . "  the shameful Although Gehman  1 6  suggests t h a t West i s "above r e a l i s m " , he does admit West's use o f a c c u r a t e d e s c r i p t i o n .  F i n a l l y , Randall  Reid argues t h a t West, by the time he wrote The Day o f the L o c u s t , r e a l i z e d that " c l e a r v i s i o n , not i m a g i n a t i o n , i s the a r t i s t ' s fundamental  tool." 3  7  C l e a r l y there are two opposing views of West's world, and consequently o f h i s imagery.  F o r some West i s  a S u r r e a l i s t ; f o r o t h e r s a human camera r e c o r d i n g r e a l i t y . The reason f o r t h i s divergence of views l i e s i n West's imagery  itself. West's images a r e a c c u r a t e and y e t they seem to be  fantastic.  West f r e q u e n t l y p r e s e n t s two d e s c r i p t i o n s o f  an o b j e c t o r an event, o r d i v i d e s an o b j e c t i n t o two p a r t s and d e s c r i b e s each p a r t i n terms o f c o n f l i c t i n g  qualities.  Because h i s imagery s e p a r a t e s what we n o r m a l l y j o i n , o r j o i n s what we normally separate, h i s world seems f a n t a s t i c but i s more a c c u r a t e l y understood as " f a n t a s y s e e n " . ^ 1  7  West's images d i v i d e people and V i c t o r Comerchero has They present  t h i n g s , and e x h i b i t , as  said, " c l i n i c a l  objectivity".  not o n l y appearance, but a l s o r e a l i t y :  "As {Tod] walked a l o n g , he examined the evening  crowd.  great many o f the people wore s p o r t s c l o t h e s  . . . .  The  f a t l a d y i n the y a c h t i n g cap was  boating  . . . the g i r l  i n s l a c k s and  bandanna around her head had a t e n n i s c o u r t " (DL, presents we  261).  q u a l i t y , and  does not p r e s e n t  sneaks with a  j u s t l e f t a switchboard,  not  T h i s s e r i e s o f images  2 1  people;  then an opposing q u a l i t y .  only one  A  g o i n g shopping, not  c o n f l i c t i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s of v a r i o u s  see one  2 0  West  p a r t of the d e s c r i p t i o n and  r e l y upon the r e a d e r ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s ; that i s , s t a t e what Is?' and l e t the reader  i n f e r what "ought" to  be.  On the c o n t r a r y , he e x p l i c i t l y c r e a t e s a d i s p a r i t y between appearance and r e a l i t y w i t h i n h i s images o r through c o n t r a s t i n g images.  In A Cool M i l l i o n  there i s a d i s p l a y  o f " o b j e c t s whose d i s t i n c t i o n l a y i n the great w i t h which t h e i r m a t e r i a l s had had  been d i s g u i s e d .  Paper  been made to look l i k e wood, wood l i k e rubber,  rubber l i k e s t e e l , and,  skill  steel like  cheese, cheese l i k e g l a s s ,  f i n a l l y , g l a s s l i k e paper" (CM,  p r e s e n t s two  239).  Again,  c o n f l i c t i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s of what  West  "is".  Although the d i s p a r i t y between appearance and r e a l i t y i s less explicit  i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ,  an  implicit  disparity  8  i s apparent when we l e a r n that Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s a man who appeared t o he on the verge o f death  "saw stagger  i n t o a movie t h e a t e r t h a t was showing a pii-cture c a l l e d Blonde Beauty,  He saw a ragged woman w i t h an enormous  g o i t e r p i c k a l o v e s t o r y magazine out o f a garbage can and  seem v e r y e x c i t e d by h e r f i n d "  (ML, 115),  Here  West d e s c r i b e s two events i n such a way t h a t we immediately see not only the i r o n y and pathos o f the s i t u a t i o n s , but a l s o the c o n f l i c t between p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y and mental illusion.  Both c h a r a c t e r s a r e u g l y and y e t they p e r s i s t  i n t h e i r dreams o f beauty and l o v e .  I n these examples  West s e t s up an o p p o s i t i o n which c r e a t e s a d i v i d e d world populated  by d i v i d e d  characters.  West c o n j o i n s o r separates people i n ways which challenge Before  q u a l i t i e s of objects or  the r e a d e r ' s  expectations.  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the v a r i o u s t y p e s o f images he  c r e a t e s a s a r e s u l t of h i s d i s j u n c t i o n - c o n j u n c t i o n a general aspect  fictional  example i s i n o r d e r .  technique,  I have j u s t presented one  o f West's d i v i d e d v i s i o n — h i s technique o f  d e s c r i b i n g one o b j e c t i n two ways.  A v a r i a t i o n of t h i s  technique i s to d e s c r i b e an o b j e c t i n terms o f a d i s s i m i l a r object.  When Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  looks a t the sky, we  d i s c o v e r t h a t "the grey sky looked a s i f i t had been rubbed with a s o i l e d e r a s e r .  I t h e l d no a n g e l s ,  flaming  c r o s s e s , o l i v e - b e a r i n g doves, wheels w i t h i n wheels.  Only  9  a newspaper s t r u g g l e d i n the a i r l i k e a k i t e with a broken s p i n e " (ML, it  71).  I t i s not unusual to see grey sky,  i s unusual to d e s c r i b e such a n a t u r a l occurrence  terms o f a human product  in  such as a s o i l e d e r a s e r .  not unusual to see a newspaper caught by  but  It is  the wind  and  imagine i t i s a k i t e , but i t i s unusual to d e s c r i b e i t i n animate terms, suggesting with a broken s p i n e . and  that the k i t e i s l i k e a b i r d  I n s e r t e d between these two  f a n t a s t i c images i s a thematic  Miss L o h e l y h e a r t s  accurate  image of o p p o s i t i o n .  i s l o o k i n g f o r a m i r a c l e , an  angel,  a f l a m i n g c r o s s , but sees o n l y a man-made t h i n g which cannot f l y because of i t s broken s p i n e . West has m i r r o r e d Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s * an answer to s u f f e r i n g and miracles.  The  mind, h i s d e s i r e f o r  the r e a l i t y that there are  r e i n f o r c e d by  which frame the dream:  on the f u s i o n of two  The  s o i l e d e r a s e r , newspaper sense of f a n t a s y r e s t s  d i s s i m i l a r , but o r d i n a r y and  real,  objects.  West c r e a t e s both h i s f i c t i o n a l world c h a r a c t e r s by means of d i v i d e d images.  and i t s  Usually,  we  l e a r n more about a c h a r a c t e r ' s appearance than any e l s e , and  no  the incongruous d e s c r i p t i o n s  sky and  broken, b i r d - l i k e k i t e .  concrete  sentences  d i s p a r i t y between d e s i r e and r e a l i t y i s  r e f l e c t e d i n and  and  In three  what we  see i s u s u a l l y a s e p a r a t i o n o f  thing  qualities.  10  I n The Day o f the L o c u s t , f o r example, Mrs. Schwartzen has *a p r e t t y , e i g h t e e n - y e a r - o l d face and a t h i r t y - f i v e - y e a r o l d neck (which! i s v e i n e d and sinewy"  (DL, E72).  Similarly,  M i s s F a r k i s i n M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s has " l o n g l e g s , t h i c k a n k l e s , b i g hands, a powerful body, a s l e n d e r neck and a c h i l d i s h face made t i n y by a man's h a i r c u t " (ML, 7 2 ) . !  When West does go beyond h i s c h a r a c t e r ' s s u r f a c e appearance, he u s u a l l y i s o l a t e s p a r t i c u l a r  qualities,  p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t a t e s , and p h i l o s o p h i c a l a t t i t u d e s . technique i s s i m i l a r t o Sherwood Anderson's i n the opening o f Wlnesburg,  Ohio.  His  as e x p l a i n e d  Anderson's  imaginary  writer had one c e n t r a l thought that i s v e r y strange and has always remained w i t h me . . . The thought was i n v o l v e d but a simple statement o f i t would be something l i k e t h i s : That i n the beginning when the world was young there were a g r e a t many thoughts but no such t h i n g a s a t r u t h . Man made the t r u t h s h i m s e l f and each t r u t h was a composite o f a g r e a t many vague thoughts. A l l about i n the world were the t r u t h s and they were a l l b e a u t i f u l .  And then the people came a l o n g . Each as he appeared snatched up one o f the t r u t h s and some who were q u i t e s t r o n g snatched up a dozen o f them. I t was the t r u t h s that made the people grotesques . . the moment one o f the /'.people took one of the t r u t h s to h i m s e l f , c a l l e d i t his' t r u t h , and t r i e d t o l i v e h i s l i f e by i t , he became a grotesque, and the t r u t h he embraced became a f a l s e h o o d . 22 In West, too, the sense o f d i s t o r t i o n and of the grotesque a r i s e s from the s e p a r a t i o n and i s o l a t i o n of t r u t h s L i k e Anderson,  West s e t s h i s r e l a t i v e l y s t a t i c c h a r a c t e r s  11  i n motion w i t h i n a f i c t i o n a l  world.  The  second p a r t of  the p r e s e n t study w i l l examine the nature of West's p l o t t i n g and  i t s function  i n h i s work.  But  this  l o g i c a l l y f o l l o w s an analys i s . o f the images themselves. The f i r s t world and  task i s to see how  West c r e a t e s h i s  fictional  i t s c h a r a c t e r s through the use of d i v i d e d images.  We must both note the e s s e n t i a l l y mundane q u a l i t y of the components of each p a r t o f each separated image, and clarify to  the dominant k i n d s o f d i v i d e d images, i f we  comprehend the t e n s i o n of West's " h a I f - w o r l d ? .  a n a l y s i s o f the imagery w i l l demonstrate fictional  are An -  2 4  that West's  world i n each work i s d i v i d e d i n the same  as the c h a r a c t e r s which populate t h a t world.  And  way  an  examination of the p l o t ' s f u n c t i o n i n each work w i l l demonstrate  that i t i s used t o support the imagery  and  to move each work, step by s t e p , towards one d e v a s t a t i n g image. Once we  understand the b a s i c technique used t o  c r e a t e the world and  the c h a r a c t e r s , and  the f u n c t i o n o f  the p l o t , i t w i l l be c l e a r that West's technique i s u n l i k e t h a t f r e q u e n t l y used to c r e a t e e i t h e r s a t i r e s or n o v e l s . West's f i c t i o n a l world i s not s t r u c t u r e d s o l e l y to form s p e c i f i c and obvious l i n k s with the e x t e r n a l everyday  world  and c o n t i n u a l l y comment upon the r e a l world, as i s u s u a l ) i n s a t i r e ; nor i s i t c r e a t e d to e l i c i t our  concern  12  f o r the c h a r a c t e r s w i t h i n the f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , as i s u s u a l in novels.  But before we  can t a l k about West's use o f h i s  f i c t i o n a l world, we must understand the nature o f the images which create t h a t world and the c h a r a c t e r s within i t .  CHAPTER I I  KINDS OF IMAGES  Many c r i t i c s have noted West's use few  have examined i t i n derfcail.  recognizes  that the  Randall Reid,  d i s o r d e r ; deadness, v i o l e n c e ;  f o r these d i v i s i o n s .  the d i s p a r i t y between stimulus and i n t e n s i t y of Westian man,"  2  West's e n t i r e f i c t i o n a l world, and  else, i t is  response that  but he  imagery  Victor  1  Comerchero r e a l i z e s that ^mpre t h a n anything  the  oppositions  but he f a i l s to p o i n t out that the  i s l a r g e l y responsible  but  f o r example,  themes of West's work form  ( a c t o r , audience; order, dreams, m i s e r y ) ,  of imagery,  does not  a l l of his  creates see  that  characters,  i s d i v i d e d by opposing, i r r e c o n c i l a b l e q u a l i t i e s  and  characteristics.^ F o r the purposes of d i s c u s s i o n , i t w i l l to put West's images i n t o c a t e g o r i e s . d i s t i n c t i o n s s e t up  be  Although  the  i n t h i s chapter are somewhat a r b i t r a r y ,  they do provide  a basis f o r a detailed a n a l y s i s .  d i f f e r e n t kinds  of images seem t o me  groups.  images which show the mental and  First,  useful  q u a l i t i e s of a character  separated  to f a l l  The  into f i v e emotional  from h i s p h y s i c a l ones.  14  Next, images i n which the human and  o r g a n i c are  human and  mechanical.  T h i r d , images o f  alienated  from, or i d e n t i c a l with, h i s r o l e .  grotesque images seen as n a t u r a l . which o r d i n a r y inverted. external divided  the a c t o r  d i s j o i n t e d or  which accentuate the  l o o k at each k i n d  of image, i t w i l l  q u a l i t y a r i s e s from the  separation  seen that  fictional  the  world are  of c o n f l i c t i n g a t t r i b u t e s , constant  In f a c t , i t  of an e s s e n t i a l l y mundane n a t u r e . the c h a r a c t e r s  i n which they e x i s t , and  I r o n i c a l l y , we w i l l West's work.  reality.  the  i m a g i s t i c components o f West's  w i l l a l s o become apparent that d i v i d e d world  be  disturbing  j u x t a p o s i t i o n of opposing q u a l i t i e s , and  d i s p a r i t y between appearance and  become  world seems to  exaggerated, d i s t o r t e d , and grotesque, the  be  variously  images.  c l e a r t h a t , although West's f i c t i o n a l  will  Fourth,  o f course, there remain simple images,  to these c a t e g o r i e s ,  When we  the  either  F i n a l l y , images i n  responses to events are  And,  seen as i n -  see  that the  vice  divided  mirror versa.  images u n i f y  It the  i  Throughout h i s work, West uses the d i s t i n c t i o n between mind and body by s e p a r a t i n g the mental and p h y s i c a l q u a l i t i e s of a person or by r e f l e c t i n g mental s t a t e s i n p h y s i c a l appearances. West's technique works i n two ways.  He w i l l  c r e a t e an image which e i t h e r s e p a r a t e s  what we normally j o i n o r j o i n s what we n o r m a l l y s e p a r a t e . E i t h e r way, by d i s s o c i a t i n g the mental from the p h y s i c a l , he s u r p r i s e s and s t a r t l e s the r e a d e r . L o c u s t , f o r examplej  I n The Day of the  Homer Simpson's hands d e f i n e h i s  c h a r a c t e r and present an image which d e p i c t s h i s d i v i d e d being: He l a y s t r e t c h e d out on the bed, c o l l e c t i n g h i s senses and t e s t i n g the d i f f e r e n t p a r t s o f h i s body. E v e r y p a r t was awake but h i s hands. They s t i l l s l e p t . He was not s u r p r i s e d . When he had been a c h i l d , he used to s t i c k p i n s i n t o them and once had even t h r u s t them i n t o a f i r e . Now he used only c o l d water. He got out o f bed i n s e c t i o n s , l i k e a p o o r l y made automaton, and c a r r i e d h i s hands i n t o the bathroom. He turned on the c o l d water. When the b a s i n was f u l l , he plunged h i s hands i n up to the w r i s t s . They l a y q u i e t l y on the bottom l i k e a p a i r o f strange a q u a t i c a n i m a l s . When they were thoroughly c h i l l e d and began to crawl about, he l i f t e d them out and h i d them i n a towel. He was c o l d . He r a n hot water i n t o the tub and began t o undress, fumbling w i t h the buttons o f h i s c l o t h i n g as though he were undressing a s t r a n g e r . He was naked b e f o r e the tub was f u l l enough to g e t i n and he s a t down on a s t o o l to w a i t . He kept h i s enormous hands f o l d e d • q u i e t l y on h i s b e l l y . Although a b s o l u t e l y s t i l l , they seemed curbed r a t h e r than r e s t i n g . (DL, 289)  16  Homer's hands are separate e n t i t i e s ; they b e t r a y h i s v  emotional impotence  and p h y s i c a l d r i v e s .  on d e s p i t e h i s r e p r e s s i o n of h i m s e l f .  H i s hands l i v e  Sometimes he  can  c o n t r o l them: H i s b i g hands l e f t h i s l a p , where they had been p l a y i n g "here's the church and here the s t e e p l e " , and h i d i n h i s a r m p i t s . They remained t h e r e f o r a moment, then s l i d under h i s t h i g h s . A moment l a t e r they were back i n h i s l a p . The r i g h t hand cracked the j o i n t s o f the l e f t , one by one, then the l e f t d i d the same s e r v i c e f o r the r i g h t . They seemed e a s i e r f o r a moment, but not f o r l o n g . They s t a r t e d "here's the church" a g a i n , going through the e n t i r e performance and ending w i t h the j o i n t m a n i p u l a t i o n as b e f o r e . He s t a r t e d a t h i r d time, but c a t c h i n g Tod's eyes, he stopped and trapped h i s hands between h i s knees. I t was the most complicated t i c Tod had ever seen. What made i t p a r t i c u l a r l y h o r r i b l e was i t s precision. I t wasn't pantomime, as he had f i r s t thought, but manual b a l l e t . When Tod saw the hands s t a r t to c r a w l out a g a i n , he exploded. "For C h r i s t ' s sake'." The hands s t r u g g l e d to get f r e e , but Homer clamped h i s knees shut and h e l d them. (DL, 389) Most o f the time, however, Homer's hands a r e completely separate from Homer: One day, w h i l e opening a can of salmon f o r l u n c h , h i s thumb r e c e i v e d a nasty c u t . Although the wound must have h u r t , the calm, s l i g h t l y querulous e x p r e s s i o n he u s u a l l y wore d i d not change. The wounded hand writhed about on the k i t c h e n t a b l e u n t i l i t was c a r r i e d to the sink by i t s mate and bathed t e n d e r l y i n hot water. (DL, 296-297) Many c r i t i c s  have n o t i c e d these hands.  Randall  R e i d , h u n t i n g f o r sources, says Homer's hands a r e , of course, taken d i r e c t l y from Wing Biddlebaum, the grotesque whose " s l e n d e r e x p r e s s i v e f i n g e r s . . . " become, i n Wjnesburg, Ohio^ the p e r f e c t  17  symbol o f t h a t b a f f l e d and wordless urge f o r e x p r e s s i o n which f o r c e s each c h a r a c t e r i n t o the "extreme d e f o r m i t y " of h i s dance.4 It  i s t r u e , as R e i d says, t h a t  The hands . . . embody a theory o f the grotesque i t s e l f — they reduce a complete psychology to an image. The psychology could be summarized i n two p r e v a i l i n g laws: the f i r s t i s the f a m i l i a r " I can't express £t"; the second i s " I can't not express i t , e i t h e r . " 5 On a t e c h n i c a l l e v e l , West conveys 'this psychology by s e p a r a t i n g Homer's hands ,from the r e s t of Homer's body and g i v i n g them an a n i m a l e x i s t e n c e o f t h e i r own c o n t r a s t s w i t h Homer's mental Throughout  which  and emotional death.  the work, Homer i s both a l l hands and no hands,  due to t h i s s e p a r a t i o n o f a t t r i b u t e s . While many have n o t i c e d t h i s e s s e n t i a l  technique  i n West, few have seen that i t pervades h i s work,  A  small but compact i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s k i n d of image i s seen i n West's treatment o f Adore Loomis. e i g h t - y e a r - o l d boy who monster  Adore,  thinks he i s a F r a n k e n s t e i n  (and is-)j evidences s e p a r a t i o n of p h y s i c a l  and mental  an  action  understanding:  H i s s i n g i n g v o i c e was deep and rough and he used the broken groan of the b l u e s s i n g e r q u i t e e x p e r t l y . He moved h i s body only a l i t t l e , a g a i n s t r a t h e r than i n time with the music. The g e s t u r e s he made w i t h h i s hands were extremely s u g g e s t i v e .  He seemed to know what the words meant, or at l e a s t h i s body and h i s v o i c e seemed to know. (DL, 364)  18  Here West's image d e p i c t s the h o r r o r of a c h i l d a c t i n g w i t h s o p h i s t i c a t i o n , y e t without knowledge*  The r e a d e r  sees  a t once the d i s p a r i t y between mental awareness and physical action.  The image suggests  that Adore's body  and mind a r e d i s s o c i a t e d . S i m i l a r l y , Faye Greener's sensual g e s t u r e s a r e t h o u g h t l e s s .  k i s s e s a r e empty, and h e r The mental and the  emotional a r e separated when she t a l k s to the men a t Homer's p a r t y : None o f them r e a l l y heard her. They were a l l too busy watching h e r s m i l e , laugh, s h i v e r , whistper, grow i n d i g n a n t , cross and uncross h e r l e g s , s t i c k out her tongue, widen and narrow h e r eyes, toss h e r head so that her p l a t i n u m h a i r splashed a g a i n s t the r e d p l u s h o f the c h a i r back. The strange t h i n g about her g e s t u r e s and e x p r e s s i o n s was that they d i d n ' t r e a l l y i l l u s t r a t e what she was s a y i n g . They were almost pure. I t was as though h e r body r e c o g n i z e d how f o o l i s h h e r words were and t r i e d t o e x c i t e her h e a r e r s i n t o being u n c r i t i c a l . I t worked t h a t n i g h t . . . . (DL, 387) Although Faye "uses" these g e s t u r e s , i t i s c l e a r she has no o t h e r s and i s t h e r e f o r e l i m i t e d i n h e r choice o f reactions.  Thus she too i s separate from h e r body.  Her motions a r e not l i n k e d to h e r emotions and words. Her  sexual tongue-caress  i s an automatic  reaction.  Again, West has separated the mental from the p h y s i c a l and c r e a t e d f a n t a s y seen. Not only Faye and Homer are d i v i d e d ,  So a r e Tod  Hackett, E a r l e Shoop, Harry Greener, Abe K u s i c h and o t h e r s .  19  Tod has a " l a r g e , s p r a w l i n g body . . . and a s l o p p y g r i n {which makes] him seem completely without almost d o l t i s h i n A f a c t "  talent,  (DL, 260). E a r l e "had a two-  d i m e n s i o n a l f a c e that a t a l e n t e d c h i l d might have drawn with a r u l e r and compass" (DL, 323), and although West adds d e t a i l upon d e t a i l , he o n l y r e i n f o r c e s E a r l e ' s p h y s i c a l f l a t n e s s while  i g n o r i n g completely h i s mental  q u a l i t i e s , thus a c c e n t u a t i n g h i s emptiness.  Harry  Greener had v e r y l i t t l e back or top t o h i s head. I t was almost a l l f a c e , l i k e a mask, with deep furrows on e i t h e r s i d e o f the nose and mouth, plowed there by years o f broad g r i n n i n g . . . * Because o f them, he could never express a n y t h i n g e i t h e r s u b t l y or e x a c t l y . They wouldn't permit degrees o f f e e l i n g , o n l y the f u r t h e s t degree. Tod began to wonder i f i t might not_ be t r u e t h a t a c t o r s s u f f e r l e s s than o t h e r people . . . |yef| Harrys u f f e r e d as k e e n l y as anyone, d e s p i t e the t h e a t r i c a l i t y o f h i s groans and grimaces. (DL, 336-337) H a r r y ' s s u f f e r i n g i s separate from h i s p h y s i c a l e x p r e s s i o n of s u f f e r i n g . it  I n p a r t , t h i s i s West's a c t o r image, but,  i s a l s o p a r t o f h i s technique of s e p a r a t i n g the mental  from the p h y s i c a l .  Abe K u s i c h , t o o , demonstrates a  k i n d o f d i s j u n c t i o n , o n l y i n t h i s case i t works i n reverse.  Although he i s a dwarf, he i s e m o t i o n a l l y the  most a c t i v e i n the book.  He i s the one who grabs E a r l e ' s  t e s t i c l e s and who wants t o get some g i r l s . one who p i t i e s and l o v e s the d y i n g cock. he  i s p h y s i c a l l y reduced,  He i s the Thus, although  he i s e m o t i o n a l l y expanded.  EG  T h i s could  be considered  an i r o n y o f the p l o t , but Abe  i s a l s o a n image which c o n t r a s t s w i t h , f o r example, Homer's and E a r l e ' s s i z e and emotional impotence. Claude Estee i s d i v i d e d .  Even  He greets Tod  by doing the impersonation t h a t went with the Southern c o l o n i a l a r c h i t e c t u r e , He t e e t e r e d back and f o r t h on h i s h e e l s l i k e a C i v i l War c o l o n e l and made b e l i e v e he had a large b e l l y . He had no b e l l y a t a l l . He was a dried-up l i t t l e man with the rubbed f e a t u r e s a n d stooped s h o u l d e r s o f a p o s t a l c l e r k . (DL, 271-272} A f t e r we f i n d out that Claude's impersonation i s f a l s e and -  incongruous with h i s p h y s i c a l n a t u r e , h i s r h e t o r i c a l s o seems out o f p l a c e . West's s e p a r a t i o n  of the Omental and p h y s i c a l i s  a l l - p e r v a s i v e i n The Day of the L o c u s t where each i s divided  i n some way.  i s an e x t e n s i o n  However, The Day of the L o c u s t  of The Dream L i f e o f Balso S n e l l which i s  premised on the s e p a r a t i o n  of dreams and r e a l i t y , and  the o f f s e t t i n g f u s i o n o f a r t and excrement—man's s p i r i t u a l a c t i v i t y and ftls basest p h y s i c a l The  character  highest  function.  Dream L i f e o f Balso S n e l l i s composed o f a s e r i e s o f  images and e p i s o d e s which d e p i c t man's reach f o r something mental and h i s l i m i t a t i o n s . separation drives).  The images demonstrate the  o f a s p i r a t i o n (mental)  1  from r e a l i t y  R e l i g i o n , a r t and l o v e a r e debunked.  (physical When  Maloney the A r e o p a g i t e has f i n i s h e d h i s p r e c i s o f S a i n t  21  Puce's l i f e , is  e c s t a s y , and death, B a l s o * s s h a t t e r i n g comment  I t h i n k you're morbid . . .  religion,  (BS, 13).  art is essentially physical.  Like  John G i l s o n t e l l s  us t h a t he p l a n s to w r i t e a p l a y d u r i n g which "the of  the t h e a t r e w i l l be made to open and  ceiling  cover the occupants  w i t h tons o f l o o s e excrement" (BSj 31).  A r t i s the'  product of the human mind, d i g e s t e d experience, and, f o r e , excrement. care about art'. story—because  G i l s o n says: "'What the h e l l Do you know why  Miss MeGeeney, my  Russian n o v e l s and you run a magazine. Art  there-  do I  I wrote that r i d i c u l o u s E n g l i s h teacher,  I want to s l e e p w i t h her. W i l l you buy  it?  But maybe  I need the money'.'"  i s a means t o sexual union o r money, not  Love, too, i s base and only s e x u a l .  reads  t r u t h or beauty.  I t i s an a c t ,  " s e d u c t i o n " o f Mary MeGeeney i s a f a r c e without  Balso's  meaning.  Each of man's dreams ends up by being debased. whole of The Dream L i f e i n the s t e r i l e  of Balso S n e l l i s a dream and  e j a c u l a t i o n of a n o c t u r n a l  The ends  emission.  The mental a c t i o n s are e i t h e r separated from the p h y s i c a l or serve the p h y s i c a l .  E i t h e r way,  West's d i v i d e d , linages  f o r c e the reader t o see t h e i r d i s j u n c t i o n and  frustrate  any attempt on the r e a d e r ' s p a r t to fuse them. The  s e p a r a t i o n o f the mental and  a p a r t o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s a l s o .  the p h y s i c a l Is  P e t e r Doyle i s l i k e  Homer Simpson i n that he becomes an image o f a s u f f e r i n g  22  man  who  cannot a c t , or even understand why  he  cannot a c t .  L i k e Homer's, Doyle's hands are separate from h i s mind and have t h e i r own  existence.  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  watched the p l a y o f the c r i p p l e ' s hands. At f i r s t they conveyed n o t h i n g but excitement, then g r a d u a l l y they became p i c t o r i a l . . They lagged behind to i l l u s t r a t e , a matter w i t h which he was a l r e a d y f i n i s h e d , or ran ahead to i l l u s t r a t e something he had not yet begun t o t a l k about. (ML,  124)  T h i s image makes i t c l e a r to the r e a d e r that  the mind i s  out o f j o i n t and d i s s o c i a t e d from the body.  Like  Faye's  g e s t u r e s , the hands are not c o o r d i n a t e d with the words. West uses t h i s t e c h n i q u e of d i s s o c i a t i n g the mental from the p h y s i c a l most p o w e r f u l l y i n The Day o f the L o c u s t to  c r e a t e Homer and H a r r y .  characters, demonstrate  The  images which d e p i c t  their  the d i v i s i o n West sees i n man  between a s p i r a t i o n s and p h y s i c a l l i m i t a t i o n s .  The  c h a r a c t e r s c r e a t e d by these d i v i d e d images m i r r o r the d i v i d e d f i c t i o n a l world i n which they e x i s t ; that i s , the hideous houses which the c h a r a c t e r s take to be (or normal) r e f l e c t t h e i r hideous dreams. seems f a n t a s t i c because  he focuses on two  p r o p e r t i e s of a c h a r a c t e r o r t h i n g .  beautiful  West's world conflicting  Homer, f o r example,  i s a d i v i d e d c h a r a c t e r , but the d i v i s i o n i s the r e s u l t of something more b a s i c than c o n f l i c t i n g d e s i r e s . demonstrate  to us that Homer i s i r r e c o n c i l a b l y  The  images  divided  between emotional d e s i r e s and p h y s i c a l impotence,  and  23  f u r t h e r t h a t Homer i s both a s i n g l e b e i n g and. a d i v i d e d being.  Each aspect of h i s being i s p e r f e c t l y  normal;  the s t a r t l i n g q u a l i t y of West's images a r i s e s from y o k i n g of o p p o s i t e s w i t h i n one c h a r a c t e r .  the  ii  Besides s e p a r a t i n g the mental from the p h y s i c a l and demonstrating the c o e x i s t e n c e o f these opposing q u a l i t i e s i n each c h a r a c t e r , West o f t e n uses images which make the human seem inhuman.  L o g i c a l l y , there a r e s e v e r a l  permutations o f t h i s k i n d of image.  The human can be made  mechanical, or the mechanical human.  A l s o , the human  can be b e s t i a l , o r the beast human.  West uses a l l o f  these p o s s i b i l i t i e s . S t r i k i n g examples o f the human made mechanical are Adore*s and H a r r y ' s performances.  Adore g r e e t s Homer  " l i k e a s o l d i e r a t the command of a d r i l l  sergeant"  (DL, 368), s i n g s a song which he does not understand, and when he i s f i n i s h e d grabs the s t r i n g o f h i s s a i l b o a t , c i r c l e s the yard " i m i t a t i n g a tugboat" (DL, 364), and t o o t s h i m s e l f o f f Homer's backyard stage. d e p i c t s a mechanical l i t t l e action. to  The e n t i r e image  boy performing a m e c h a n i c a l  H a r r y too i s m e c h a n i c a l .  After h i s sales pitch  Homer, he s t a r t s through i t a g a i n but stops to get h i s  b r e a t h : "Suddenly, l i k e a mechanical wound, something  snapped  toy that had been over-  i n s i d e o f him and he began t o  s p i n through h i s e n t i r e r e p e r t o i r e " (DL, 301). I n both o f  25  these images the r e a d e r sees the human turned inhuman, i n these i n s t a n c e s , m a c h i n e - l i k e . Faye, t o o , has mechanical g e s t u r e s and escapes reality  by mechanical means.  from  When she i s bored, she l i e s  down and dreams: She would get some music on the r a d i o , then l i e down on h e r bed and shut h e r eyes. She had a l a r g e assortment o f s t o r i e s t o choose from; A f t e r g e t t i n g h e r s e l f i n the r i g h t mood, she would go over them i n her mind, as though they were a pack o f c a r d s , d i s c a r d i n g one a f t e r another u n t i l she found the one t h a t s u i t e d . On some days, she would r u n through the whole pack . . . . (PL, 316) Faye i s a human juke-box and h e r dreams a r e r e c o r d i n g s o f f a n t a s i e s that she p l a y s t o h e r s e l f : While she admitted t h a t h e r method was too mechanical f o r the best r e s u l t s and that i t was 'better to s l i p i n t o a dream n a t u r a l l y , she s a i d that any dream was b e t t e r than no dream and beggars c o u l d n ' t be choosers . . . . However, her c r i t i c a l powers ended t h e r e . She o n l y smiled a t the mechanics. (DL, 317) The r e a d e r , on the other hand, sees that the mechanics r e v e a l an inhuman q u a l i t y — d r e a m s , by t h e i r very n a t u r e , are unplanned  and u n c o n t r o l l e d , but Faye s o r t s h e r s l i k e a  deck o f c a r d s . Claude E s t e e , the master  o f r h e t o r i c , makes l o v e  mechanical: Love i s l i k e a vending machine, eh? Not bad. You i n s e r t a c o i n and press home the l e v e r . There's some mechanical a c t i v i t y i n s i d e the bowels o f t h e d e v i c e . You r e c e i v e a small sweet, frown a t y o u r s e l f i n a d i r t y m i r r o r , a d j u s t your hat, t a k e a f i r m g r i p on your umbrella, and walk away, t r y i n g - t o look as though n o t h i n g had happened. (DL,-276)  26  The metaphor i s m o d i f i e d and c o n t i n u e d : who managed a b r o t h e l , "wasn't v i c i o u s  Mrs. Jennings, . . . .  She r a n h e r  b u s i n e s s j u s t l i k e other women r u n l e n d i n g l i b r a r i e s  . . ."  (DL, 277). Love i s a commercial product which can be bought and  sold. In  I t i s mechanical and, t h e r e f o r e , inhuman. The Day of the L o c u s t , the whole Hollywood  s e t t i n g i s mechanical.  The houses are u g l y and inhuman.  Homer's r e n t e d house has two i d e n t i c a l rooms with p r i n t s o f the same p i c t u r e .  identical  The f i l m i n d u s t r y i s s i m i l a r  to  Faye's deck o f dream c a r d s .  of  r e a l i t y with i t s s e t s .  I t produces the i l l u s i o n  Tod, while chasing Faye among  the' m o v i e - l o t s e t s , f i n d s shade "under an ocean l i n e r made of  canvas w i t h r e a l l i f e b o a t s hanging  from d a v i t s "  sees "a great f o r t y - f o o t p a p i e r m&che' sphinx"  (DL, 351),  (DL, 351),  c r o s s e s "a d e s e r t that was c o n t i n u a l l y being made l a r g e r by a f l e e t of t r u c k s dumping white  sand" (DL, 351),  watches a c t o r s " e a t i n g cardboard food i n f r o n t o f a cellophane water f a l l "  (DL, 351).  When he i s out of b r e a t h , he s i t s  ''down on a r o c k made of brown p l a s t e r There i s n o t h i n g r e a l , and l i t t l e  . . . (DL, 352).  that i s human.  There a r e many o t h e r examples o f images which d e p i c t the human a s machine i n The Day o f t h e L o c u s t . Johnson, f o r example, makes f u n e r a l s h e r hobby.  Mrs* However,  "Her p r e o c c u p a t i o n with them wasn't morbid; i t was f o r m a l . She was i n t e r e s t e d i n the arrangements o f t h e f l o w e r s , the  27  o r d e r of the p r o c e s s i o n , the c l o t h i n g and deportment o f the mourners" (DL, 341).  She  i s , i n fact, interested i n  the mechanics of f u n e r a l s , not t h e i r meaning o r The  d e s c r i p t i o n of Homer's b o d y — a p a r t  i s — m a k e s him that "He  i n t o a robot.  from h i s hands, t h a t  F o r example, we  are  told  got out of bed i n s e c t i o n s , l i k e a p o o r l y made  automaton . . . " at  significance.  (DL, 289).  When Homer j o i n s the  crowd  the end of the book, he '•walked more than ever l i k e  a  badly made automaton and h i s f e a t u r e s were s e t i n a r i g i d , mechanical  grin"  (DL,  412).  While the images i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s are much l e s s compact than i n The Day o f the Locust and o f t e n extend over a f u l l  chapter, there are a number of extended images  which d e p i c t the human as m e c h a n i c a l .  Miss  Lonelyhearts  works f o r a n e w s p a p e r — $ symbol of modern mass communication— which i s produced by machines.  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s  p h y s i c a l l y separated from h i s r e a d e r s .  He r e c e i v e s only  l e t t e r s , which he "answers" with typed words.  There i s  no communication or warmth, o n l y spaces f i l l e d  on a p r i n t e d  page. S h r i k e , the e d i t o r , uses the Miss Lonelyhearts'' column to g a i n r e a d e r s .  H i s r h e t o r i c i s mechanical;  d i c t a t e s answers to l e t t e r s l i k e a machine  gun:  he  28  "The same o l d s t u f f , ? Shrike said. "Why don't you give them something new and hopeful. T e l l them about a r t . Here, I ' l l dictate: TArt I s A Way Out. "Do not l e t l i f e " overwhelm you. When the old paths are choked with the debris of f a i l u r e , look f o r newer and fresher paths. A r t i s just such a path." (ML, 69) Shrike also reports on a new r e l i g i o n , a mechanical one. One of i t s members i s going to conduct a service f o r a condemned slayer:  "'Prayers f o r the condemned man's  soul w i l l be offered on an adding machine.  Numbers,  he explained, are the only universal language'" (ML, 73). Even Shrike's seduction of Miss Farkis i s mechanical. His speech i s a set-piece, and "When he had reached the end, he buried his triangular face l i k e the blade of a, hatchet in her neck" (ML, 74). Shrike i s not a man, but an object which chops away at people.  He cuts o f f escape routes  for Miss Lonelyhearts l i k e a woodsman f e l l s t r e e s . ^ Destroyed are the South seas, nature, pleasure, a r t , suicide and drugs: "My f r i e n d , I know of course that neither the s o i l , nor the South seas, nor Hedonism, nor a r t , nor suicide, nor drugs, can mean anything to us . . . God alone i s our escape. The church i s our only hope, the F i r s t Church of Christ Dentist, where He is worshipped as Preventer of Decay." (ML, 110) Shrike turns God and r e l i g i o n into object and science, thus r e f l e c t i n g his own mechanical mind. In West's dehumanizing  imagery, the human i s often  described as b e s t i a l , and the beast sometimes seems human.  29  I n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , Doyle p l a y s a t being a d o g — a n d i s one. S h r i k e i s a s h r i k e , a b i r d which Impales i t s i n s e c t ^ p r e y upon thorns before devouring h i m s e l f i s almost sacrificed. fights:  it.  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  the innocent lamb being c l u m s i l y  I n The Day o f the L o c u s t , there a r e two cock  the l i t e r a l  cock f i g h t which i s c o n t r o l l e d by the  men and i s t h e i r entertainment; and t h e m e t a p h o r i c a l f i g h t between the men which f o l l o w s and i s t h e i r F u t i l e d e s t r u c t i o n i s the end of both.  cock  fulfilment.  In another  scene,  E a r l e and Miguel s e t some q u a i l t r a p s to get f o o d .  While  the c h a r a c t e r s s e t t r a p s , each c h a r a c t e r i n the book, E a r l e and Miguel i n c l u d e d , i s trapped h i m s e l f . West tends t o use b e s t i a l i t y In The Dream L i f e through artist  of Balso S n e l l , we e n t e r  the horse's anus, the s a i n t is a rat.  as an o v e r - r i d i n g  concept.  civilization  i s a f l e a , and the  These images are not;developed,  but they  do j a r the r e a d e r i n t o seeing the d i s p a r i t y between appearance and r e a l i t y .  A Cool M i l l i o n begins w i t h Shagpoke Whipple  t a k i n g Lemuel P i t k i n ' s mother's cow, l i t e r a l l y m i l k i n g the o l d woman o f e v e r y t h i n g she h a s .  Immediately f o l l o w i n g  t h i s , Lemuel k i l l s a mad, f r o t h i n g dog. kill  While Lemuel can  the l i t e r a l dog, he cannot match, l e t alone d e f e a t ,  the metaphoric  mad d o g — s o c i e t y .  Although  West's use o f  b e s t i a l images i s subordinated t o h i s thematic it  concerns,  i s one a s p e c t o f the dehumanizing imagery and works to  a c h i e v e t h e same r e s u l t a s the mechanical  imagery.  30  In each o f h i s works, West makes the human b e s t i a l or m e c h a n i c a l . saw  The images r e f l e c t h i s d i v i d e d v i s i o n  which  t h i n g s as t h e i r o p p o s i t e s o r as themselves and t h e i r  opposites.  The o p p o s i t i o n s c o l l a p s e and the human i s seen  to be both mechanical and b e s t i a l , b u t i t i s not human, because  the s o u l i s d i s r e g a r d e d o r d e n i e d .  A l l human  a s p i r a t i o n s a r e reduced to mechanical processes and biological division  functions.  We should note a g a i n t h a t the  i s not between what i s and what ought  to be,  but between what West sees and what we normally see. U s u a l l y West g i v e s us both o f t h e s e views i n each image, and t h i s forms the o p p o s i t i o n of r e a l i t y and appearance. The sense of "ought" i s almost completely l a c k i n g i n West's work exeept i n the g e n e r a l sense t h a t l i f e as i t I s .  Through  ought not t o be  h i s mechanical and b e s t i a l  imagery, West  simply draws our a t t e n t i o n to these a s p e c t s of human e x i s t e n c e and i m p l i c i t l y denies t h e v a l i d i t y of man's aspirations.  iii  Throughout h i s work, West p l a y s v a r i a t i o n s on the theme of appearance v e r s u s r e a l i t y . v i s i o n of man at  H i s images present h i s  separated from h i m s e l f .  Each work develops,  some p o i n t , an a c t o r image, the t h i r d k i n d of image t h a t  West uses.  This i s perfectly natural  L o c u s t , which i s a study o f Hollywood. occurs i n the other works as w e l l :  i n The Day o f the But the a c t o r image  i n The Dream L i f e of  B a l s o S n e l l a l l o f the a c t i o n s are seen as performances; Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s t r i e s t o a c t out C h r i s t ' s  role;  Lemuel P i t k i n ends up as a side-show f r e a k a f t e r h i s dismantling. In  West's works, the a c t o r becomes h i s r o l e .  Harry  and E a r l e , f o r example, are no more than they appear to be, poor method a c t o r s . at  the same time l i f e  no a c t i o n has any  Men are v i c t i m s of t h e i r r o l e s , and i s a stage.  Man becomes a clown when  meaning:  " L i f e i s but the span from womb to tomb; a s i g h , a s m i l e ; a c h i l l , a f e v e r ; a throe of p a i n , a spasm o f volup~ty: then a gasping f o r breath, and the comedy i s over, the song i s ended, r i n g down the c u r t a i n ^ the clown i s dead." The clown i s dead; the c u r t a i n i s down. And when I say clown, I mean you. A f t e r a l l , a r e n ' t we a l l . . . clowns? . . . L i f e is_ a stage; and we are clowns. What i s more t r a g i c than the r o l e of clown? What more f i l l e d w i t h  32  the e s s e n t i a l s o f great a r t ? — p i t y and i r o n y . . . . The clowns down f r o n t jin the theatrej are laughing, w h i s t l i n g , b e l c h i n g , c r y i n g , sweating and e a t i n g peanuts. And y o u — you a r e back-stage . . . . C l u t c h i n g you b u r s t i n g head . . . you hear nothing but the d u l l r o a r of your m i s f o r t u n e s . . . . Your f i r s t thought i s t o rush out there and cut your t h r o a t before t h e i r f a c e s w i t h a l a s t t e r r i f i c l a u g h . But soon you are out f r o n t a g a i n doing your s t u f f , the same superb Beagle: dancing, laughing, s i n g i n g — a c t i n g . F i i n a l l y , the c u r t a i n comes-down, and, i n your d r e s s i n g room before the m i r r o r , you make the f a c e s that won't come o f f w i t h the grease p a i n t — t h e f a c e s you w i l l never make down f r o n t . '(BS, 50-51) West, i n The Dream L i f e o f Balso  S n e l l , saw that the  a c t o r and h i s r o l e were one and the same t h i n g , but i n The  Day o f the Locust, the i r o n i e s a r e compounded because  the c h a r a c t e r s  a r e p r o f e s s i o n a l a c t o r s without j o b s , y e t  w i t h no time o f f the s e t .  West's technique o f s e p a r a t i n g  q u a l i t i e s and f u s i n g d i s s i m i l a r q u a l i t i e s i s here more complex.  West sees l i f e as a performance, but he makes us  see, and lament, that  there  is nothing e l s e .  L i f e i s not  r e a l i t y , a c t i n g i s ; and i t i s a f a l s e r e a l i t y i n t o the bargain.  There i s no r e a l i t y .  Even Tod and M i s s  Lonelyhearts,  who come c l o s e to a true v i s i o n o f l i f e ,  cannot escape.  Rather than being a r e p r i e v e from a l i f e  o f a c t i n g , awareness  merely compounds the p a i n and p r o h i b i t s escape i n t o illusion.  7  In The Dream L i f e o f Balso  S n e l l , John G i l s o n and  Beagle Darwin see themselves as a c t o r s .  Beagle, i n  p a r t i c u l a r , performs f o r S a n i e t t e , h i s m i s t r e s s . r e l a t i o n s w i t h S a n i e t t e " , he says,  "My  "were e x a c t l y those o f  33  performer and audience" (BS, 25).  In r e a c t i o n to her  c a s u a l n e s s , he becomes more desperate i n h i s performance. S a n i e t t e accepted these " f e a t s i n somewhat the manner one watches the m a r v e l l o u s s t u n t s of a c r o b a t s " (BS, 25). F i n a l l y he says, I have f o r g o t t e n the time when I c o u l d look back at an a f f a i r with a woman and remember a n y t h i n g but a sequence of t h e a t r i c a l p o s e s — p o s e s that I assumed, no matter how aware I was o f t h e i r r i d i c u l o u s n e s s , because they were amusing,,. A l l my a c t i n g has but one purpose, the a t t r a c t i o n o f the female. (BS, 26) But when Beagle has got h i s female, he gets r i d of her by w r i t i n g two  imaginary l e t t e r s , the l a s t of which  reads l i k e a s c e n a r i o .  He may  be aware of h i s a c t i n g and  i t s r i d i c u l o u s n e s s , but he continues p e r f o r m i n g . c o n t i n u e s to perform because  He  t h e r e i s no other way  impress another person or to communicate.  I t may  to be  amusing, but i t i s a l s o i n d i c a t i v e of man's i s o l a t e d of b e i n g .  West uses the a c t o r image t o demonstrate  state the  d i s j u n c t i o n between a c t and meaning, and u l t i m a t e l y to deny any meaning to any a c t i o n , or at l e a s t any  spiritual  meaning to r e l i g i o n , a r t , or l o v e , which i n The Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l are merely means of a t t r a c t i n g the female. Whereas The Dream Lilfe of Balso S n e l l which i s b a s i c a l l y  i s a work  concerned w i t h the d i s t a n c e between  dreams and r e a l i t y , and which uses the a c t o r image as a means to convey the theme, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s a work which d e p i c t s a man  t r y i n g to f i n d and f u l f i l  a role.  34  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s opens with Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s *  realization  t h a t h i s column i s not a joke, that h i s r o l e i s s e r i o u s (however r i d i c u l o u s ) , t h a t "the funny" '(ML,• 66). life  He  i s h i s r o l e , and  l e t t e r s were no  longer  i s the a c t o r becoming aware t h a t h i s that h i s r o l e i s i m p o s s i b l e :  Although the d e a d l i n e was l e s s than a q u a r t e r of an hour away, he was s t i l l working on h i s l e a d e r . He had gone as f a r a s : " L i f e _is worthwhile, f o r i t i s f u l l of dreams and peace, g e n t l e n e s s and e c s t a s y , and f a i t h that burns l i k e a c l e a r white flame on a grim dark a l t a r . " But he found I t impossible to continue. The l e t t e r s were no l o n g e r funny. He could not go on f i n d i n g the same joke funny t h i r t y times a day f o r months on end. And on most days he r e c e i v e d more than t h i r t y l e t t e r s , a l l o f them a l i k e , stamped from the dough of s u f f e r i n g with a h e a r t shaped cookie k n i f e . (ML, 66) He  reads the l e t t e r s s e a r c h i n g f o r "some c l u e to a s i n c e r e  answer" (ML,  $6), but  there i s none, not even C h r i s t .  C h r i s t i s S h r i k e ' s joke and  h i s mockery undercuts  Lonelyhearts'  sincerity.  Lonelyhearts'  search f o r a s o l u t i o n to h i s r e a d e r s '  h i s own  The work  dramatizes  Miss  Miss and  problem. Each c h a r a c t e r r e p r e s e n t s a p o s s i b l e r o l e f o r  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s escape:  to p l a y , and  t h e r e f o r e an avenue o f  Shrike—cynicism; Betty—simple  d e l u s i o n ; Mrs.  Shrike—sex;  P e t e r D o y l e — o p e n l o v e . .Because Miss  Lonelyhearts  i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by h i s r e a c t i o n s to  these  v a r i o u s r o l e s , he i s the most complex c h a r a c t e r i n the work.  But, always, he i s the a c t o r t r y i n g to f i n d a .  solution;'to s u f f e r i n g — t o f u l f i l  and  a c t out h i s earthbound,  35  Christ-like role.  He  c o n s t a n t l y sees h i s a c t i o n s as  r i d i c u l o u s , yet there a r e no a l t e r n a t i v e s .  Miss  Lonelyhearts  i s d e f i n e d by h i s name, h i s r o l e , and h i s attempt to p l a y saviour. West's f i n a l to meet Doyle,  image o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  descending  and Doyle's a c c i d e n t a l shooting of M i s s  L o n e l y h e a r t s , p r e s e n t s a p i c t u r e of the a c t o r who to  r e a c h h i s audience.  fails  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' attempt to  love l e a d s to d e s t r u c t i o n .  F o r West, whose v i s i o n  separates a c t from meaning, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' f a i l u r e i s the r e s u l t of a man  being an a c t o r when no a c t i o n s are  exempt from the d i s j u n c t i o n between i n t e n t and The fully  image of the a c t o r trapped  developed  i n The  Day  result.  in his role i s  of the L o c u s t .  Much of the  e a r l i e r d i s c u s s i o n about West's s e p a r a t i o n of the mental and  p h y s i c a l a p p l i e s here, as do the examples c i t e d .  Both k i n d s of images are p a r t of the same v i s i o n , a v i s i o n which denies wholeness or u n i t y to the All  of the c e n t r a l  world.  c h a r a c t e r s Tod meets, with  e x c e p t i o n of Homer, are a c t o r s .  The  the  d e s c r i p t i o n of E a r l e  Shoop i s s t r i k i n g because each d e t a i l West adds merely r e i n f o r c e s the two-dimensional stereotype of "a cowboy from a small town i n A r i z o n a " , who (DL,  322):  works " i n  horse-operas"  36  Tod found h i s Western accent amusing. The f i r s t time he had heard i t , he had r e p l i e d , !»Lo, t h a r , s t r a n g e r , " and had been s u r p r i s e d to d i s c o v e r that E a r l e d i d n ' t know he was being k i d d e d . Even when Tod t a l k e d about "cayuses," "mean hombres" and " r u s t l e r s , " E a r l e took him s e r i o u s l y . (DL, 324) In  t h i s exchange, we see that E a r l e does not know he i s  a c t i n g ; he i s h i s r o l e , on stage and o f f . H a r r y Greener  i s more complex.  We f i r s t  when Tod v i s i t s him w h i l e he i s s i c k i n bed. immediately we a r e t o l d  see him  Almost  t h a t , "When Harry had f i r s t  begun h i s stage c a r e e r , he had p r o b a b l y r e s t r i c t e d h i s clowning to the boards, but now he clowned The acting. door.  second  c o n t i n u o u s l y " (DL, 282).  time we meet H a r r y we see h i s continuous  Harry uses h i s clowning to se&l p o l i s h door to I t a l l seems innocent enough u n t i l H a r r y begins to  " p r a c t i c e a v a r i e t y o f laughs, a l l o f them t h e a t r i c a l ,  like  a m u s i c i a n t u n i n g up f o r a c o n c e r t " (DL, 300). He f i n d s the r i g h t one and l e t s h i m s e l f go.  The r e s u l t s are  disastrous: "Please s t o p , " Homer s a i d . But H a r r y c o u l d n ' t s t o p . He was r e a l l y s i c k . The l a s t b l o c k that h e l d him p o i s e d over the runway o f s e l f p i t y had been knocked away and he was s l i d i n g down the chute, g a i n i n g momentum a l l the time. He jumped t o h i s f e e t and began doing Harry Greener, poor Harry, honest Harry, well-meaning, humble, d e s e r v i n g , a good husband, a model f a t h e r , a f a i t h f u l C h r i s t i a n , a l o y a l f r i e n d . (DL, 300) The  image c o n t i n u e s .  Harry stands "with h i s head thrown back,  c l u t c h i n g h i s t h r o a t , as though fall"  w a i t i n g f o r t h e c u r t a i n to  (DL, 301). Suddenly, he begins h i s a c t a g a i n :  37  " L i k e a mechanical toy . . . .  He went through i t a l l  i n one d i z z y spasm, then r e e l e d  to the couch and  (PL, 301). act.  collapsed"  H a r r y has l o s t c o n t r o l o f h i s body and h i s  West d w e l l s on the image.  aware o f h i s s i c k n e s s .  We  F i n a l l y Harry becomes  s w i t c h from:  H a r r y c o l l a p s e d on the couch and began to breathe h e a v i l y . He was a c t i n g a g a i n . (DL, 302) to: ••I'm f a i n t , ? he groaned. Once a g a i n he was s u r p r i s e d and f r i g h t e n e d .  He  was  faint. "Get my  daughter," he gasped.  H a r r y and h i s r o l e are mixed up.  (DL,  303)  F o r Harry, h i s own  death i s t h e a t r i c a l , but f o r the r e a d e r death i s n o t . Faye i s e q u a l l y t h e a t r i c a l .  She and H a r r y communicate  through a c t i n g — h e laughs h i s v i c t i m ' s laugh and she  sings.  When Harry i s dead, Faye a c t s with c o l d w o r l d l i n e s s .  All  of her a c t i o n s are mechanical and l i k e those o f an actress".  "affected  Homer i s e x c i t e d d u r i n g h i s f i r s t meeting with  her when, S t i l l h o l d i n g her h a i r , she turned at the w a i s t without moving her l e g s , so t h a t her snug dress t w i s t e d even t i g h t e r and Homer could see h e r d a i n t y , arched r i b s and l i t t l e , dimpled b e l l y . T h i s e l a b o r a t e g e s t u r e , l i k e a l l her o t h e r s , was so completely meaningless, almost f o r m a l ; that she seemed a dancer r a t h e r than an a f f e c t e d a c t r e s s . (DL, 304) She  seems l i k e a dancer, but i s an a f f e c t e d  one who reality.  actress—  does not know the d i f f e r e n c e between stage and L i k e E a r l e , who  i s pure male, Faye  i s pure  38  female body w i t h a mind f i l l e d w i t h dreamsi gestures are seductive, t r i t e ,  A l l of her  and empty:  She r e p a i d him f o r h i s compliment by s m i l i n g i n a p e c u l i a r s e c r e t way and running her tongue o v e r h e r l i p s . I t was one o f h e r most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c g e s t u r e s and v e r y effective. I t seemed to promise a l l s o r t s o f u n d e f i n e d i n t i m a c i e s , y e t i t was r e a l l y as simple and automatic as the word thanks. She used i t to reward anyone f o r a n y t h i n g , no m a t t e r how unimportant. (DL, 385) A l t h o u g h a minor c h a r a c t e r i n the n o v e l , Adore Loomis i s a p a r t n o t o n l y o f the mechanical imagery, b u t a l s o o f the a c t o r .  He i s s i m i l a r to t h e o t h e r a c t o r s i n t h a t  he has no awareness o f the meaning  o f h i s a c t i o n s , nor,,  does he have any escape from h i s r o l e . v e r s i o n o f Harry b e i n g f o r c e d t o a c t .  He i s a younger Ultimately his  a c t i n g w i l l dominate him. A l o n g with E a r l e , Harry, Faye, and Adore, Homer becomes an a c t o r without a stage o r s e l f - a w a r e n e s s . Homer i s the most p i t i f u l a c t o r s i n t h e book..  and t e r r i f y i n g o f a l l the  Homer a c t s , In the sense o f p r e t e n d i n g ,  because he cannot a c t l i t e r a l l y . sex a c t .  He i s i n c a p a b l e o f t h e  When Faye moves i n with him, i t i s a f i n a n c i a l  arrangement and an investment.  He t r i e s t o a c t the  f a t h e r , but h i s hands r e v e a l h i s sexual d e s i r e f o r h e r . H i s a c t i n g i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e , and h i s " s e r v i l i t y was l i k e t h a t of a c r i n g i n g , clumsy dog, who i s always a n t i c i p a t i n g a blow, welcoming i t even, and i n a way t h a t makes overwhelming the d e s i r e  to s t r i k e him" (PL, 3 6 7 ) .  39  Homer i s so f r u s t r a t e d that he can do n o t h i n g but a c t . Because h i s emotions are completely r e p r e s s e d , he cannot combine i n t e n t i o n and meaning w i t h h i s s o c i a l r o l e .  He  i s not, l i k e Harry, a r o l e without a separate b e i n g ; r a t h e r , he  i s a b e i n g without a s a t i s f a c t o r y r o l e .  Consequently  he becomes the example o f the f r u s t r a t e d crowd which seethes w i t h p a s s i o n and which, because i t l a c k s a means o f e x p r e s s i o n , seems r o b o t - l i k e and mechanical. West compounds the i r o n y o f the a c t o r - a c t images to such an extent t h a t a c t o r s impersonate  themselves.  Tod, Faye and Homer go to a cabaret where a young man impersonates  a woman:  What he was doing was i n no sense parody; i t was too simple and too r e s t r a i n e d . . . . T h i s dark young man . . . was r e a l l y a woman. When he had f i n i s h e d H i n g i n g , there was a great d e a l of applause. The young man shook h i m s e l f and became an a c t o r a g a i n . He t r i p p e d on h i s t r a i n , as though he weren't used t o i t , l i f t e d h i s s k i r t to show he was wearing P a r i s g a r t e r s , then s t r o d e o f f swinging h i s shoulders. 'His i m i t a t i o n o f a man was awkward and obscene. ( D L , 3 7 0 ) \ With the p r e s e n t a t i o n of a "woman" impersonating impersonating a woman, West makes h i s p o i n t : acting.  a man  everything i s :•  By drawing our a t t e n t i o n t o the d i s t i n c t i o n between a c t o r and a c t i n g and then c o l l a p s i n g t h a t d i s t i n c t i o n , West a c i e v e s an e f f e c t s i m i l a r t o h i s d i s j u n c t i o n o f the mental and the p h y s i c a l . d i v i d e d world.  Both k i n d s o f images imply a  West separates q u a l i t i e s which we tend to  40  fuse o r f u s e s q u a l i t i e s which we separate.  H i s images  e x h i b i t opposing human a t t r i b u t e s c o e x i s t i n g w i t h i n a c h a r a c t e r or the l a c k of c e r t a i n human a t t r i b u t e s .  The r e s u l t i s a  dehumanized world made up of human q u a l i t i e s .  Because West  focuses on o r d i n a r y , r e a l i s t i c d e t a i l s , each p a r t o f h i s Imagery i s p e r f e c t l y normal. and  separates  j o i n s q u a l i t i e s - i n & a y that we do not, h i s world w  fantastic. and  But, because he  I t i s West's technique  c o l l a p s i n g those  world  o f s e t t i n g up o p p o s i t i o n s  o p p o s i t i o n s which c r e a t e s h i s d i v i d e d  and i t s c h a r a c t e r s .  As a r e s u l t o f s e e i n g inhuman  c h a r a c t e r s , we look f o r the human or s p i r i t u a l  qualities  i n West's c h a r a c t e r s and f i n d o n l y vague h i n t s . a c t o r i s h i s a c t i n g ; the mind i s d i v o r c e d Together these  from the body.  i n West's c h a r a c t e r s between a c t and meaning.  the  The  images e s t a b l i s h an i r r e c o n c i l a b l e  no meaning: l i f e  seems  i s a stage and man i s a clown  clown's escape from h i s g r e a s e - p a i n t  division  There i s without  and the stage.  iv  All  three kinds o f images d i s c u s s e d up to  p o i n t have been based on a s e p a r a t i o n of  this  qualities—the  mental from the p h y s i c a l , the human from the mechanical or animal,  the a c t o r from the r o l e - - a n d v a r i o u s f u s i o n s o f  these q u a l i t i e s .  None of these has  i n the normal sense of the word. i n West i s the grotesque  involved d i s t o r t i o n  The  f o u r t h k i n d of image  d i s t o r t i o n of the human body.  West develops an " u n n a t u r a l ^ c h a r a c t e r i n each novel c o n t r a s t s the deformed with the n a t u r a l . the grotesque  becomes the normal or n a t u r a l .  L o n e l y h e a r t s , Doyle,  In M i s s  8  However, i n The  Day  of the  the pugnacious dwarf, i s more h e a l t h y than  normal people. all  i n West,  the c r i p p l e d metre-man, i s the images  o f a s u f f e r i n g human. Abe,  But,  and  In one  Locust.  the  n o v e l , West i m p l i e s t h a t we  are  c r i p p l e s ; i n the other, t h a t dwarfs are g i a n t s r e l a t i v e  to the r e s t of the  world.  As e a r l y as The Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l . West l i n k s p h y s i c a l with mental o r s p i r i t u a l  deformity.  a t t r a c t e d to the g i r l - c r i p p l e s a t the  Balso i s  theatre:  42  Spying a b e a u t i f u l Hunchback, he suddenly became s i c k w i t h p a s s i o n . The c r i p p l e o f h i s c h o i c e looked l i k e some c r e a t u r e from the depths of the s e a . She was t a l l and e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y hunched. She was t a l l i n s p i t e of her enormous hump; but f o r her dog-leg spine she would have been seven f e e t h i g h . Moreover, he could be c e r t a i n t h a t , l i k e a l l hunchbacks, she was i n t e l l i g e n t . (BS, 37-38) Janey Davenport i s the l o v e r o f a r t , and her p h y s i c a l d e f o r m i t y i s a r e f l e c t i o n of her mental While West uses the grotesque of  Balso S n e l l ,  thematic  i t i s secondary  concerns.  and The Day  deformity.  i n The Dream L i f e  to a h o s t o f other,  In Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , A Cool M i l l i o n  o f the L o c u s t , the grotesque  i n t e g r a l p a r t o f the f i c t i o n a l world.  becomes a more  A Cool M i l l i o n  i s the r e c o r d of Lemuel P i t k i n ' s p h y s i c a l d i s m a n t l i n g . He .becomes the grotesque  image of s o c i e t y ' s p r o d u c t .  Both Lemuel*s«aid B e t t y ' s p h y s i c a l rape r e f l e c t s mental rape a t s o c i e t y ' s hands, progresses Animate and  their  A Cool M i l l i o n a l s o  towards the "Chamber of American H o r r o r s , Inanimate H i d e o s i t i e s . "  s e r i e s o f grotesque U n l i k e The  The whole work i s a  images d e s c r i b e d i n dead-pan language.  Dream L i f e of Balso S h e l l and A Cool  M i l l i o n , which i m p l i c i t l y present the .grotesque a b e r r a t i o n o f the normal  (although West suggests  n a t u r a l consequences of f a l s e dreams and e v i l are grotesque must be  and  as an that the  societies  t h e r e f o r e that the dreams and s o c i e t y  changed), Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The  L o c u s t p r e s e n t the grotesque  as normal and  Day  of the  inevitable.  43  The  l e t t e r s Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s r e c e i v e s are from c r i p p l e s  who  are deaf, l a c k i n g noses, or s p a s t i c .  c r e a t e a p i c t u r e of a deformed w o r l d .  These l e t t e r s  T h i s i s the image  which t u r n s the joke i n t o a s e r i o u s concern.  The  mission  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s takes upon h i m s e l f i s to cure the deformed world.  The  l o g i c of the novel and  the deformed are a p a r t o f l i f e cannot he cured.  suffering  F u r t h e r , while Doyle i s the  cripple,  w i f e i s e q u a l l y e m o t i o n a l l y c r i p p l e d and r e q u i r e s  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' h e l p . help.  The  final  And Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  cannot  image of the book not o n l y shows Miss.  L o n e l y h e a r t s ' death, of  and that t h e i r  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' attempt to help Doyle  l e a d s to d e s t r u c t i o n . his  i t s p l o t t i n g i s that,  but a l s o the s u r v i v a l o f two  kinds  d e f o r m i t y - - P e t e r Doyle's p a r a l y s i s and B e t t y ' s mental  d e n i a l o f the s u f f e r i n g of  life.  I n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , Doyle i s the image o f t h e r  s u f f e r i n g l e t t e r - w r i t e r s and as such  i s , as Miss  comes t o r e a l i z e , a r e a l and normal aspect of I n f a c t , Shrike t e l l s Doyle, In The Day  of the L o c u s t , Abe  Lonelyhearts  life.  "'you a r e humanity"" (ML, 1 2 3 ) . i s not the image of  suffering.  Rather, he becomes, i r o n i c a l l y , the most h e a l t h y o f the characters. d r i v e s and  H i s s i z e i s i n i n v e r s e p r o p o r t i o n to h i s desires.  But h i s d e s i r e f o r Faye, and  g e n e r a l , i s thwarted. he e n t e r s lam arena  sex i n  L i k e the cock with a broken beak,  i n which he  cannot triumph.  He  i s swung  44  a g a i n s t the w a l l and destruction. j?  He  i s h e l p l e s s to prevent h i s  is, literally,  the l i t t l e ,  own  defeated  man.  Each n o v e l develops an image of a deformed c h a r a c t e r  and combines the humorous with the h o r r i b l e . h i s use of h i s grotesque  imagery,  but i t i s always p r e s e n t .  But a g a i n , as with the other kinds of imagery, the sense that West i s r e c o r d i n g f a n t a s y seen. the grotesque  West v a r i e s  there i s Further,  images form one p a r t of the v i s i o n which  separates the deformed from the normal are d i s t i n c t and yet i d e n t i c a l .  and says that  both  Almost a l l of West's  c h a r a c t e r s are m e n t a l l y deformed i n the sense t h a t they are d i v i d e d between t h e i r bodies and  t h e i r minds, that  they are mechanical and b e s t i a l as opposed to human, that they are n o t h i n g more than r o l e - p l a y e r s . how  When we  see  grotesque West's d i v i d e d world and i t s c h a r a c t e r s i s ,  the p h y s i c a l grotesques merely mental grotesques.  While  support and r e f l e c t the  the c r i p p l e s and dwarfs  remain  separate, the reader sees t h a t they a r e r e f l e c t i o n s o f an e n t i r e world.  V  The ordinary  f i n a l k i n d o f image West uses, apart  d e s c r i p t i o n s which p r o v i d e  the o t h e r k i n d s , heading f a l l  is inversion.  from  the c o n t r a s t f o r a l l  Under t h i s amorphous  images of the d i s j u n c t i o n between normal  a c t i o n and  r e a c t i o n , that i s , between stimulus  response.  Although V i c t o r Comerchero notes t h a t ''More  than a n y t h i n g and  e l s e i t i s the  response that c r e a t e s the  d i s p a r i t y between  and  stimulus  i n t e n s i t y of Westian man,"^  he does not develop t h i s i n s i g h t i n terms o f West's images, nor does he  comment on  e n t i r e f i c t i o n a l world. normal a c t i o n and  i t s i m p l i c a t i o n s i n terms of West's Because of the  d i s j u n c t i o n between  r e a c t i o n , the f i c t i o n a l world  often  seems i n v e r t e d .  Laughter, f o r example, i s not a means of  expressing  S i m i l a r l y , i n s t e a d of being a n a t u r a l  joy.  f u n c t i o n , sleep f o r Homer i s a means o f escape from Throughout West's work there are breaks or m i s s i n g i n the chains who  of cause and  effect.  To a normal  no rmal expe c tat io n.  links  reader,  i s accustomed to normal sequences o f cause and  West's world o f t e n seems i n v e r t e d i n that  reality.  i t upsets  effect,  46  The  d i s j u n c t i o n between a c t i o n and  f u l l y developed i n The  Day  of t h e l L o c u s t . .  s t a r t s w i t h Homer's a t t a c k on Adore. Adore p r o v i d e s reaction.  The  r e a c t i o n i s most The  mob  scene  stimulus  which  i s i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n r e l a t i o n to Homer's  This spreads throughout the  changes from a passive  crowd, to a f u r i o u s mob  In f a c t , the s t i m u l u s merely p r o v i d e s pent-up t e n s i o n s ;  crowd, which  an excuse to r e l e a s e  i t t r i g g e r s the mob's rage.  a cause and  an e f f e c t , but  accurately,  insufficiently related.  i n minutes.  There i s  they seem u n r e l a t e d  or, more  West draws our a t t e n t i o n to t h i s k i n d of image repeatedly, stimulus and  f o r c i n g us t o see response.  the d i s j u n c t i o n between  C a l v i n and  opera a c t o r s , mock E a r l e , but  Hink, two  horse-  f a i l to get a r e a c t i o n from  him: C a l v i n and Hink slapped t h e i r t h i g h s and laughed, but Tod could see t h a t they were w a i t i n g f o r something e l s e . E a r l e , suddenly, without even s h i f t i n g h i s weight, shot h i s f o o t out and k i c k e d C a l V i n s o l i d l y i n the rump. T h i s was the r e a l p o i n t of the joke. They were d e l i g h t e d by E a r l e * s f u r y . Tod a l s o laughed. The way E a r l e had gone from apathy to a c t i o n without the usual t r a n s i t i o n was funny. The seriousness o f h i s v i o l e n c e was even f u n n i e r . (DL, 385) The  joke i s E a r l e * s i r r a t i o n a l response, h i s i n a b i l i t y  r e a c t i n accordance with s t i m u l u s .  Faye's and  Harry's  automatic responses are a l s o examples of t h i s k i n d image.  Faye's tongue-caress and  are p a r t of the p a t t e r n able  of  H a r r y ' s s a l e s routine,  i n t h a t n e i t h e r c h a r a c t e r .lis  to f i t h i s response to the  cause.  to  47  There a r e opposite  cases i n which the  i s g r e a t e r than the r e a c t i o n . a nasty  cut, Homer does not  the crowd Tod time.  stimulus  When Homer's hand r e c e i v e s  seem to f e e l any p a i n .  Similarly,  i s s t u d y i n g r e a c t s l i k e Homer most of the  The normal s t i m u l i o f sunshine,  p a s s i o n f r u i t have no e f f e c t on  them.  oranges, and They wait f o r  a i r p l a n e crashes or sexual p e r v e r t s to goad them i n t o action.  But,  once r e l e a s e d , t h e i r f u r i o u s r e a c t i o n ,  l i k e Homer's, i s d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e to the c a u s a l a c t i o n . The  book develops s e v e r a l images of t h i s k i n d ,  each more s e r i o u s than the p r e c e d i n g beginning, a t Mrs.  when Tod and  Jenning's,  p r o p o r t i o n to the  we  Claude's guests  have a mock r i o t  i t has  Near the  go to watch a  film  out o f a l l  cause:  There was a l o n g d e l a y , d u r i n g which f u s s e d d e s p a r a t e l y with h i s machine. to w h i s t l e and stamp her f e e t and the They i m i t a t e d a rowdy audience i n the n i c k l e o d e o n . (DL, 279) After  image.  the f i l m i s "complete" and  the cameraman Mrs. Schwartzen s t a r t e d others joined i n . days o f the  the audience r e a l i z e s  been duped, people shout "Fake •." reheat!" "The o l d t e a s e r r o u t i n e I" They stamped t h e i r f e e t and w h i s t l e d . Under cover o f the mock r i o t , Tod sneaked out. (DL, 280-281)  Here, although  we are aware that i t i s a joke, we are  to a k i n d of image which develops throughout the  introduced  novel.  48  West uses the d i s j u n c t i o n o f a c t i o n and i n jfc. C o o l M i l l i o n a l s o .  reaction  Lemuel P i t k i n i s found  of  a crime which he d i d not commit.  at  the p r i s o n , the warden b e g i n s :  guilty  When he a r r i v e s  "The f i r s t thing to dp i s to draw a l l your t e e t h , " he s a i d . ••Teeth are o f t e n a source o f i n f e c t i o n and i t pays to be on the safe s i d e . At the same time we w i l l begin a s e r i e s o f cold showers. Cold water i s an e x c e l l e n t cure f o r m o r b i d i t y . " "But I am i n n o c e n t , " c r i e d Lem, when the f u l l s i g n i f i c a n c e of what t h e warden had s a i d dawned on him. "I am not morbid and I never had a toothache i n m y l i f e . " (CM,  166)  Here there i s almost no r e l a t i o n between the reason f o r Lemuel's imprisonment, showers, and  the teeth-drawing, the c o l d  the warden's r e a c t i o n to the s i t u a t i o n .  book i s a s e r i e s of such events i n which f o l l o w as l o g i c a l consequences ways.  cause and  i n o n l y the most  West d i s t o r t s the n a t u r a l order and  The  effect  superficial  creates a  world i n which almost any event can f o l l o w any o t h e r event. The l o g i c of the n a r r a t i v e a r i s e s from West's i n t e n t i o n to  develop images and i r o n i c  narrative  s i t u a t i o n s , not from the  itself.  West uses t h i s technique to a l e s s e r e x t e n t i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , but we do g a i n i n s i g h t s through images which d i s c o n n e c t cause and e f f e c t , or d i s t o r t the normal r e l a t i o n s h i p between cause and e f f e c t .  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s '  f r u s t r a t i o n becomes apparent when he l i g h t s a p o o r l y made c i g a r e t t e :  49  The c i g a r e t t e was imperfect and r e f u s e d t o draw. Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s took i t out o f h i s mouth and s t a r e d at i t f u r i o u s l y . He fought h i m s e l f q u i e t , then l i t another one. (ML, 68) Normally,  people do not become f u r i o u s when a c i g a r e t t e  does not draw.  A s i m i l a r image i s c r e a t e d when Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s t r i e s to show h i s ? l o v e " f o r the c r i p p l e P e t e r Doyle w h i l e reading Doyle*s  letter:  While Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s was p u z z l i n g out the crabbed w r i t i n g , Doyle's damp hand a c c i d e n t a l l y touched h i s under the t a b l e . He j e r k e d away, but then drove h i s hand back and f o r c e d i t to c l a s p the c r i p p l e ' s . After f i n i s h i n g the l e t t e r , he d i d not l e t go, but pressed i t f i r m l y w i t h a l l the l o v e he c o u l d manage. (ML, 126) As  In The  Day  of the Locust, where the a c t i o n and  r e a c t i o n d i s j u n c t i o n works two ways, the whole of Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s premised  on the t h e s i s that there  i s no  s u i t a b l e r e a c t i o n to the stimulus of the l e t t e r s which Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s r e c e i v e s . p a i n and  There i s no answer to. the  s u f f e r i n g o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' r e a d e r s .  w h i l e the images sometimes show the response  Thus,  exceeding  the s t i m u l u s , a t o t h e r times the r e a c t i o n i s d e f i c i e n t . E i t h e r way,  the reader sees an  i n v e r t e d world.  Another aspect of the i n v e r t e d world which i s l i n k e d to the i n a p p r o p r i a t e response laughter. joy. laugh.  Normally,  i s West's use o f  l a u g h t e r i s a means of e x p r e s s i n g  But West's world  there i s no  joy.  Yet c h a r a c t e r s  West does not, however, r e l y s o l e l y upo:>h the  r e a d e r ' s normal e x p e c t a t i o n .  He accentuates, w i t h i n h i s  50  work, the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of-a c h a r a c t e r s ' l a u g h t e r . Greener,  Harry  f o r example, laughs h i s v i c t i m ' s l a u g h f o r Homer.  West develops the image s l o w l y and c a r e f u l l y , " d i d n ' t want t o laugh, but a short bark escaped  Harry * . . .  When i t d i d n ' t h u r t he laughed a g a i n " (DL, 306). The o n l y way Faye can stop the l a u g h i n g i s t o s i n g  "Jeepers  i Creepers".  We l e a r n t h a t " T h e i r b i t t e r e s t q u a r r e l s o f t e n  took t h i s form; he l a u g h i n g , she s i n g i n g " (DL, 306). Harry stops and begins a g a i n : T h i s new laugh was not c r i t i c a l ; i t was h o r r i b l e . When she was a c h i l d , he used to p u n i s h her with i t . I t was his masterpiece. There was a d i r e c t o r who always c a l l e d on him to g i v e i t when he was s h o o t i n g a scene i n an insane asylum or a haunted c a s t l e . I t began with a sharp, m e t a l l i c c r a c k l e , l i k e burning s t i c k s , then g r a d u a l l y i n c r e a s e d i n volume u n t i l i t became a r a p i d bark, then f e l l away a g a i n t o an obscene c h u c k l e . A f t e r a s l i g h t pause, i t climbed u n t i l i t was the n i c k e r o f a h o r s e , then s t i l l h i g h e r to become a machine-like s c r e e c h , Faye l i s t e n e d h e l p l e s s l y with h e r head cocked on one s i d e . Suddenly, she too laughed, not w i l l i n g l y , but f i g h t i n g the sound. "You b a s t a r d ! " she y e l l e d . She leaped to the couch, grabbed him by the s h o u l d e r s and t r i e d to shake him q u i e t * He kept l a u g h i n g . (DL, 307) T h i s passage combines the v a r i o u s k i n d s o f images which have been a n a l y z e d . bark—a  b e s t i a l image.  Harry  Laughing  s t a r t s laughing with a and s i n g i n g a r e not  e x p r e s s i o n s o f j o y o r p l e a s u r e — a n image which d i s r e g a r d s normal r e a c t i o n s . H a r r y ' s masterpiece  progresses from a  m e t a l l i c c r a c k l e to a bark t o a horse's n i c k e r and f i n a l l y becomes a machine-like  s c r e e c h — t h e human i s mechanical 1  51  as w e l l as b e s t i a l .  The  a c t i s mechanical,  separate  from  H a r r y ' s mind, u n c o n t r o l l a b l e , and l a c k s meaning: H a r r y c o u l d n ' t stop l a u g h i n g now. He pressed h i s b e l l y w i t h h i s hands, but the noise poured out of him. I t had begun to hurt a g a i n . (DL, 307) Laughter pain.  i s a r e l e a s e , but i t expresses d e s p a i r and  West d i s t o r t s the a c t and  between s t i m u l u s and In The  shows us the  disjunction  response.  Dream L i f e of Balso Sne11,laughter  happy t h i n g e i t h e r .  causes  Beagle  Darwin  i s not a  says  I must laugh at myself, and i f the laugh i s " b i t t e r " , I must laugh at the l a u g h . The r i t u a l of f e e l i n g demands burlesque and, whether the burlesque i s s u c c e s s f u l or not, a laugh . . . . (BS, 27) Janey Davenport, a c h a r a c t e r w i t h i n a l e t t e r w i t h i n a novel w r i t t e n by a c h a r a c t e r w i t h i n the dream w i t h i n B a l s o ' s dream, does not want to l a u g h at h e r s e l f : The r i d i c u l o u s , the r i d i c u l o u s , a l l day long he t a l k s of n o t h i n g e l s e but how r i d i c u l o u s t h i s , that, or the 'other t h i n g i s . And he means me, I am absurd. He i s never s a t i s f i e d w i t h c a l l i n g o t h e r people r i d i c u l o u s , with him e v e r y t h i n g i s r i d i c u l o u s — h i m s e l f , me. Of course I can laugh a t Mother w i t h him, or at the Hearth; but why must my own mother and home be r i d i c u l o u s ? I can laugh, a t Hobey, Joan, but I don't want to laugh a t myself. I'm t i r e d o f laugh, laugh, laugh. I want to r e t a i n some p o r t i o n of myself unlaughed a t . There i s something i n me that I won't laugh a t . I won't. I ' l l laugh a t ; t h e o u t s i d e world a l l he wants me t o , but I won't, I don't want to laugh a t my i n n e r w o r l d . (BS, 241) r  D e s p i t e the s i n c e r i t y of the r h e t o r i c , the context makes Janey r a t h e r absurd, even i n h e r i n n e r world.  Together  the s i n c e r i t y and a b s u r d i t y show the r e a d e r t h a t l a u g h t e r i s not so much an e x p r e s s i o n of j o y as i t i s an to f a c e the a b s u r d i t y of  life.  attempt  52  Throughout Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , S h r i k e mocks Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and not without  Christ.  H i s l a u g h t e r i s a weapon, and  bitterness.  When Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  accuses  S h r i k e o f being a w i f e - b e a t e r , Shrike laughs, "but l o n g and  too l o u d l y . .  (ML,  " h e a r t - t o - h e a r t " t a l k w i t h Miss  92).  too  S h r i k e begins a  Lonelyhearts:  "My good f r i e n d , your a c c u s a t i o n h u r t s me to the q u i c k . You s p i r i t u a l l o v e r s t h i n k that you alone s u f f e r . But you are mistaken. Although my l o v e i s of the f l e s h f l a s h y , I too s u f f e r . I t ' s s u f f e r i n g t h a t d r i v e s me i n t o the arms "Of the Miss F a r k i s e s o f t h i s world. Yes, I suffer." Here the dead pan broke and p a i n a c t u a l l y c r e p t i n t o h i s voice. "She*s s e l f i s h . She's a damned s e l f i s h b i t c h . She was a v i r g i n when I married her and has been f i g h t i n g ever s i n c e to remain one. S l e e p i n g with her i s l i k e s l e e p i n g with a k n i f e i n one's g r o i n . " I t was Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' turn to l a u g h . He put h i s f a c e c l o s e to S h r i k e ' s and laughed as h a r d as he c o u l d . (ML, 92) The  jokes i n the bar, Doyle's  f l y , and  joke with Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s *  S h r i k e ' s p a r t y game are but a few o f the many  jokes i n t h e  work .  of them are funny. world i s populated and h o r r i b l e  They a l l induce l a u g h t e r , but none We  come to r e a l i z e t h a t t h i s d i v i d e d  by people  i s inverted. 3  whose sense of the humorous  0  I n West's f i c t i o n a l world, then, there are and  e f f e c t s but the two  do not seem to e x p l a i n what happens.  F o r example, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s "stepped and a c c i d e n t a l l y c o l l i d e d with a man beer.  When he turned  causes  away from the  bar  holding a glass of  to beg the man's pardon, he r e c e i v e d  a punch i n the mouth" (ML,  85).  T h i s i s a normal occurrence,  53  yet  the reasons a r e not developed.  yet  i t i s u n s a t i s f a c t o r y and o n l y i m p l i c i t i n the passage.  West's f i c t i o n a l world divisions.  There i s an e x p l a n a t i o n ,  i s l o g i c a l , but i t i s r i d d l e d  with  The s e p a r a t i o n of s t i m u l u s and response i s one  aspect of West's v i s i o n .  Although  d i v i d e d images pervade each of West's  works, there are numerous p l a c e s where "normal" or "ordinary** images accentuate the v a r i o u s k i n d s which have j u s t been d i s c u s s e d . opening  The  relatively plain  of Chapter I I i n The Day  example, .is not  descriptive  of the L o c u s t , f o r  startling:  He had • been l i v i n g t h i s way f o r almost a month, when, one day, j u s t as he was about to prepare h i s l u n c h , the door b e l l r a n g . He opened i t and found a man s t a n d i n g on the step with a sample case i n one hand and a derby hat i n the o t h e r . Homer h u r r i e d l y shut the door a g a i n . (DL, 298) S i m i l a r l y , o r d i n a r y images occur throughout  West's work  and p r o v i d e a c o n t r a s t f o r the d i s j o i n t e d images.  The  e n t i r e d e s c r i p t i o n of Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' t r i p to the country has a Hemingway-like s i m p l i c i t y which the h o r r o r of the r e t u r n to the c i t y .  accentuates  Homer's r e m i n i s c e n c e  o f h i s a b o r t i v e a f f a i r with,Romola M a r t i n i n room,611 o f the h o t e l I s p i t i f u l  and a c c e n t u a t e s , because of i t s  s i m p l i c i t y , the e l a b o r a t e image of the hands which,Homer cannot  control.  Needless  t o say, there are many more  o r d i n a r y images. These, together with the r e a d e r ' s normal e x p e c t a t i o n s , provide the norm by which we  recognize t h a t much of^West's  imagery i s s t r a n g e and s t a r t l i n g , not because i t i s f a n c i f u l  55  or d i s t o r t e d , but because the  Images separate and  p a r t s of o r d i n a r y c h a r a c t e r s and manner,  combine  t h i n g s i n an unusual  With our knowledge of the k i n d s of images  that West uses, we must now d i v i d e d images and  look a t the r e s u l t s of h i s  t r y ' t o suggest why  c r e a t e a d i v i d e d world populated  he uses images which  by d i v i d e d  characters.  vii  The and  e f f e c t of West's images i n each work i s complex  cumulative.  The  f i v e kinds  I have d i s c u s s e d  combine to create an a l l - p e r v a d i n g sense o f and  disjunction.  We  ultimately  separation  see a h a l f - w o r l d ; t h a t i s , one  which i s i r r e c o n c i l a b l y d i v i d e d .  We  world  d i s c o v e r t h a t man's  mind i s separate from h i s body, h i s d e s i r e s separate from h i s p o t e n t i a l ; that man o r a b e a s t ; that man the a c t o r ; t h a t man  i s l e s s than human--a machine  i s an a c t o r and i s grotesque and  that the r o l e consumes that his  creations  r e f l e c t h i s grotesque n a t u r e ; that the world i s i n v e r t e d and,  consequently, that order  and  meaning are  The  world c r e a t e d  by these images i s f i n a l l y  and  f r u s t r a t i n g because i t i s f a n t a s y  impossible. disturbing  seen.  West's technique i s to s t a r t w i t h small apparently  innocent  d i s j o i n t e d images, compound these  w i t h more s e r i o u s and and  pervasive  presentations  of  internal^  e x t e r n a l d i s s o c i a t i o n , fuse h i s k i n d s o f d i v i d e d images  i n t o a few  overpowering complex images, and,  to demonstrate the f u r y and the  and  separation  ultimately,  d e s t r u c t i o n which r e s u l t from  of dreams from r e a l i t y , a c t from meaning,  man  57  from h i m s e l f .  The t o t a l cumulative  e f f e c t of the images  i s the c r e a t i o n o f an atmosphere o f h o r r o r and p i t y ,  terror  and d i s g u s t . The f i c t i o n a l world characters within i t .  r e f l e c t s and p a r a l l e l s the  The hideous  houses of Hollywood,  which a r e intended t o s t a r t l e , r e f l e c t t h e minds o f their creators. existence.  Homer's house e x h i b i t s Homer's s t e r i l e  S i m i l a r l y , Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' ordered room  r e f l e c t s Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' desperate  attempt to o r d e r  h i s own mind. Besides c r e a t i n g a d i v i d e d world and f i l l i n g i t with c h a r a c t e r s d i v i d e d i n themselves, technique  West extends t h i s  by c r e a t i n g c h a r a c t e r s and groups o f c h a r a c t e r s  which a r e i m p l i c i t l y o r e x p l i c i t l y i r r e c o n c i l a b l y  opposed.  In The Day of the Locust, f o r example, the c h a r a c t e r s form two groups:  the cheaters and the cheated.  Tod, as  a Hollywood costume d e s i g n e r , i s one of t h e c h e a t e r s . Faye and Harry Los A n g e l e s  also f i t into  crowd a r e the cheated.  the d i s t i n c t i o n c o l l a p s e s . actor-act  t h i s group.  Homer and the  But, as i n the images,  In the same way that the  separation fuses into a u n i f i e d opposition,  the cheater-cheated  opposition collapses.  Faye and Harry  are as much v i c t i m s o f t h e i r dreams as are Homer and the crowd.  While the d i s t i n c t i o n between cheaters and cheated  i s maintained  by means o f f the constant r e f e r e n c e t o Tod's  58  p a i n t i n g which d i v i d e s the world i n t o  two groups o f people,  the book as a whole denies the s e p a r a t i o n ! E s t e e and h i s f r i e n d s go t o Mrs. Jenning's  When Claude game-house,  the f i l m they see, l i k e the filiias which they produce, them.  cheats  The reader becomes aware t h a t both the c h e a t e r s and  the cheated are v i c t i m s o f t h e i r dreams. a d i s t i n c t i o n and  both maintains  i t and  West s e t s up collapses i t ,  so t h a t the r e a d e r senses both a d i v i s i o n or s e p a r a t i o n and a u n i f i c a t i o n of o p p o s i t e s . Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s a l s o e x h i b i t s d i v i s i o n s between c h a r a c t e r s , and division.  The  i t too both m a i n t a i n s and denies that o p p o s i t i o n I s s i m p l e r than i n The Day  the L o c u s t , because Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s the a g a i n s t which a l l the o t h e r s are measured.  sole  of  standard  Miss-Lonelyhearts  r e c o g n i z e s the need t o help the s u f f e r i n g while the other c h a r a c t e r s deny or a v o i d the s u f f e r i n g .  The  reader,  however, sees that both Shrike and B e t t y s u f f e r or are going to s u f f e r .  A l s o , a l t h o u g h P e t e r Doyle  as t h e example o f s u f f e r i n g man,  i s introduced  the reader i s aware that  Doyle's p h y s i c a l deformity i s s i m i l a r t o Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' s p i r i t u a l deformity.  D e s p i t e the obvious  t h e i r problems are s i m i l a r , attempt  to f u l f i l  their  differences,  Both are tftwarted i n t h e i r  desires.  West's technique of opposing c h a r a c t e r s or groups of  c h a r a c t e r s and demonstrating  t h a t the opposing c h a r a c t e r s  are a f f l i c t e d with s i m i l a r problems i s an e x t e n s i o n of  59  h i s technique of d i v i d i n g or s e p a r a t i n g images w i t h i n themselves  and  c o l l a p s i n g those images.  The  o f c h a r a c t e r s i s one a s p e c t of h i s d i v i d e d world.  polarization  fictional  L i k e the images, t h e c h a r a c t e r s (which  in part create)  the images  seem f a n t a s t i c , weird, or d i s t o r t e d .  But the f a c t i s that they a r e strange o n l y i n so f a r as West has  concentrated on the e s s e n t i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f  t h e i r n a t u r e s , and has, l i k e Anderson, presented t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r ''truth".  The  only  i s o l a t i o n of that truth  c r e a t e s a sense o f the grotesque  which i s not so much a  p a r t of the c h a r a c t e r b e i n g presented as i t i s o f the i s o l a t i o n of the p a r t i c u l a r f e a t u r e or aspect o f the character. West uses t h i s technique and i t s c h a r a c t e r s .  He  to c r e a t e the f i c t i o n a l concentrates on separate  world aspects  and makes the reader see the o p p o s i t i o n o f the a s p e c t s through h i s images. West's technique  e s s e n t i a l l y denies c h a r a c t e r i n  the normal sense of .the word.  He p r e s e n t s  relatively  s t a t i c p i c t u r e s of people, shows the people and  d e s c r i b e s t h e i r r e a c t i o n s to other  in action,  people.  1 1  Because the d i v i d e d images o f the c h a r a c t e r s are the most f u l l y developed, they become the c h a r a c t e r s . a s e x u a l l y r e p r e s s e d male; we  Homer i s  become aware of t h i s  through the image o f h i s hands.  We  leam  that Harry i s  a mask or an empty a c t o r through the d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s f a c e .  60  Faye i s a sex  symbol caught i n her  t h i s through the and  the  presentation  image of her  does two  on the p h y s i c a l  things.  i t demonstrates the  separation  even w i t h a f l a t  He  t e l l s us  much as anyone e l s e , but we and  existence  character  romance" (DL,  image almost such  of something w i t h i n  see  actor  sense of p i t y f o r people l i k e Harry who f o r beauty and  The  that H a r r y s u f f e r s  do not  what remains with us i s the  other  o f the mental  becomes the man.  as Harry, West h i n t s at the  Miguel,  With most of the  a s s e r t s the p h y s i c a l .  But  q u a l i t i e s of  With E a r l e and  from the p h y s i c a l and  the p h y s i c a l s h e l l .  learn  o f her p h y s i c a l movements  f o r example, i t denies the mental. characters,  dreams; we  dream-cards.  West's c o n c e n t r a t i o n his characters  own  262)*  this.  as  What we  image and  see  a vague  do have a "need  When West does  develop the mental, as i n Faye o r M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s , i t becomes c l e a r that the mental dreams or a s p i r a t i o n s futile  and  dominant. to one the  d e s t r u c t i v e , and  that the p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y i s  In f a c t , West r e s t r i c t s h i m s e l f  layer of r e a l i t y — t h e p h y s i c a l .  e x c e p t i o n of The  concrete that we  are  almost s o l e l y  H i s work, w i t h  Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l , i s so  despair  illusory alternatives.  of the  existence  o f any  non-  61  Because West concentrates  on the p h y s i c a l and  makes us see t h a t the s u r f a c e images are the e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e s of h i s c h a r a c t e r s , we do not become concerned about the c h a r a c t e r s as human beings Instead  in fictional  situations.  of developing h i s c h a r a c t e r s , West makes us see  them more c l e a r l y through h i s p l o t t i n g . understand the c h a r a c t e r s , o r the world e x i s t , as we do i n most n o v e l s .  We never i n which  fully they  What West does show us  and what we do come to understand i s the d i v i d e d  nature  of the c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r w o r l d . A sense o f i r r e c o n c i l a b l e and i n e v i t a b l e  division  i s the f i n a l  consequence o f West's technique  of focusing  on separate,  i s o l a t e d , and opposing q u a l i t i e s w i t h i n and 12  among h i s c h a r a c t e r s .  Because we see, i n the images,  the v a r i o u s d i v i s i o n s , we understand the f r u s t r a t i o n o f the c h a r a c t e r s , although we never understand the causes o f the d i v i s i o n s and the r e s u l t i n g It  frustrations.  i s through the d i v i d e d images t h a t West c r e a t e s h i s  d i v i d e d world and c h a r a c t e r s and, as we w i l l now see, it  i s the f u n c t i o n o f the p l o t to create  situations  i n which we become aware o f the r e s u l t s o f a d i v i d e d world.  CHAPTER I I I  STRUCTURE AS  Most people who  DEVICE  have r e a d any  of West's work remember  his  imagery, not h i s p l o t s o r c h a r a c t e r s .  may  remember Homer or Abe  i n The  Day  Although they  of the Locustj what  they remember i s u s u a l l y a p i c t u r e o f Homer's hands or of Abe's head h i t t i n g the w a l l also l i k e l y the  i n Homer's house.  to r e t a i n a c l e a r image o f the c o c k - f i g h t ,  events which surround i t , l e a d up  from i t are u s u a l l y f o r g o t t e n . c r i t i c s f a u l t The weaknesses.  They are  Day  result  Even West's most  sympathetic  of the L o c u s t f o r i t s n a r r a t i v e  In h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n  A l a n Ross says t h a t The such as they are,  to i t , and  Day  to the  n a r r a t i v e ' s momentum, and  complete works,  of the L o c u s t ' s " d e f i c i e n c i e s ,  come from a s l i g h t  slowness i n the  a s e r i e s of s u b - p l o t s  r e l a t i o n i s never developed q u i t e  whose i n t e r -  c l o s e l y enough.  Once  the r e a l theme emerges, West's confident  astringency  of language seems t o r e t u r n and  two-thirds  o f the book c o n t a i n  but  the l a s t  some of h i s v e r y best w r i t i n g . "  1  Ross  implies  that, because Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s more compact  and  a more t i g h t l y woven p l o t s t r u c t u r e , i t i s a  has  63  b e t t e r work than The Day  of the l o c u s t .  What Ross f a i l s  to see i s t h a t both works e x i s t as a s e r i e s of images, and  that the p l o t  sequence.  2  i s merely  West's method o f u n i f y i n g the  Or, p u t t i n g i t the o t h e r way  around, the images  u n i f y the p l o t which i s always s u b s e r v i e n t to the The  images.  s u b o r d i n a t i o n of n a r r a t i v e to imagery i s obvious  i n A Cool M i l l i o n .  The  theme, i n terms o f n a r r a t i v e , i s  contained i n the s u b t i t l e : L i k e V o l t a i r e ' s Candlde, l o o s e l y connected  The  D i s m a n t l i n g o f Lemuel  West's p i c a r e s q u e  episodes.  i s a series of  The sequence o f  p r o v i d e s o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i m p l i c i t and  Pitkin.  events  explicit  on the world o u t s i d e the f i c t i o n a l w o r l d .  comments  But,  even  i n A Cool M i l l i o n , the sequence i s c a r e f u l l y ordered t o c r e a t e , as the work p r o g r e s s e s , more and more h o r r i b l e images.  The purpose of the n a r r a t i v e i s i n f a c t  solely  to p r e s e n t s i t u a t i o n s which f u r t h e r the d i s m a n t l i n g p r o c e s s . The book begins w i t h Lemuel being duped by Shagpoke Whipple, beaten by Tom who  Baxter, swindled by a p i c k p o c k e t  c a l l s h i m s e l f W e l l i n g t o n Mape, knocked  by P o l i c e Sergeant  Clancy, put  unconscious  i n j a i l where h i s t e e t h  are e x t r a c t e d a t Warden E z e k i e l Purdy's command, and on.  B e t t y P r a i l , who  has been kidnapped,  s e r v e s "a  severe apprenticeship:; to the p r o f e s s i o n " (CM, she i s to e n t e r .  The p l o t goes on, Lem  g u l l i b l e , and the reader t i r e s .  so  and  167)  Betty remain  But as i s suggested  by  64  the opening  events up t o the p u l l i n g of Lemuel's t e e t h ,  the s e r i o u s n e s s of the crimes a g a i n s t Lemuel i s i n c r e a s i n g . West i m p l i e s that i f we d i s m a n t l e d , and i f we others.  As  attacked.  are innocent  are experienced  ( f o o l s ) we  are  (knaves) we  dismantle  the work proceeds, Lemuel i s deceived  and  Towards the middle he i s used by a r a t h e r  petty, i f successful, criminal. M i l l i o n he i s being used  A t the end of A Cool  by Whipple, a more s e r i o u s  d e c e i v e r i n t h a t he deceives the mind, whereas the t h i e f only s t e a l s .  Lem  i s a "stooge"  (CM,  252),  and  while he remains innocent, West i m p l i e s that he i s f u r t h e r i n g an e v i l  cause.  Even h i s death  i s used  by  Whipple's p o l i t i c a l machine. The n a r r a t i v e i n A Cool M i l l i o n i s weak by n o v e l i s t i c standards, but satiric  the s t r u c t u r i n g i t p r o v i d e s f o r West's  images i s e x c e l l e n t .  Each event l e a d s t o a more  s e r i o u s indictment o f s o c i e t y ' s f o l l y , f a k e r y , and destructiveness. of s a t i r e u n t i l  3  While  I wish  to delay my d i s c u s s i o n  the f o l l o w i n g chapter, i t i s not p o s s i b l e  to deal w i t h the s t r u c t u r e of A Cool M i l l i o n without i t as a s a t i r e .  U n l i k e Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day  the Locust which are, as we except  treating  shall  see, complete i n  of  themselves  f o r the. most g e n e r a l k i n d s of r e f e r e n c e to the  everyday world, A Cool M i l l i o n c o n s t a n t l y r e f e r s to the world e x t e r n a l t o the f i c t i o n a l world  so as to form  65  e x p l i c i t s a t i r i c l i n k s o f a general and  specific  nature.  D e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t the work i s t i g h t l y woven i n terms o f c h a r a c t e r s and events, the b a s i c u n i t y a r i s e s out o f the images and i r o n i c s i t u a t i o n s which r e l y upon the r e a l world e v e n t s .  A l s o , A Cool M i l l i o n i s a parody of  the H o r a t i o A l g e r books.  T h i s , t o g e t h e r with the  complete  l a c k o f c h a r a c t e r a n a l y s i s and development and the absence of p l o t  (as opposed t o n a r r a t i v e ) , a c t s as a s i g n a l to  the reader t h a t the work i s s a t i r i c . Mingled w i t h the sequence of images which form n a r r a t i v e are a number of i n c i d e n t a l  images which p r o v i d e  the stage f o r the n a r r a t i v e , e s t a b l i s h a d d i t i o n a l l i n k s w i t h the r e a l , world, and f i l l world.  the  i n the  satiric  fictional  West d e s c r i b e s Wu Fong's whore house i n g r e a t  detail. Each one of the female inmates o f Wu Fong's e s t a b l i s h m e n t had a t i n y two-room s u i t e f o r her own use, f u r n i s h e d and decorated i n the s t y l e of the country from which she came. Thus, M a r i e , the French g i r l , had an apartment that was D i r e c t o i r e . C e l e s t e ' s rooms (there were two French g i r l s because o f t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l p o p u l a r i t y ) were L o u i s the F o u r t e e n t h ; she being the f a t t e r of the two. (CM, 169,) The  image i s m o d i f i e d l a t e r t o comment on the "Buy  campaign when Wu Fong t u r n s " h i s establishment i n t o hundred per centum American p l a c e " (CM, G o l d s t e i n , who f o r c e d Lem  202).  Mr.  purchased Mrs. P i t k i n ' s house and  out i n t o the world  American" an Asa  thus  to seek h i s f o r t u n e , i s  66  h i r e d to do the i n t e r i o r d e c o r a t i o n .  The  efforts  G o l d s t e i n and Wu Fong devote to a u t h e n t i c i t y the h o r r o r o f America i n the t h i r t i e s . used by a bawd to make money.  And  which  accentuate  Its tradition  Fong, by changing  "A House o f A l l N a t i o n s " to American wares, i s both a good American and  is  s e r v i n g other good, p a t r i o t i c  from being  citizens.  Besides the many images which expand the b a s i c n a r r a t i v e , West c o n s t r u c t s h i s n a r r a t i v e so t h a t Lem shunted  to a l l p a r t s of the U n i t e d S t a t e s .  from O t t s v i l l e , Vermont, to New Chicago to New  and  Lem  York, from New  moves York to  the West, then to the South, and f i n a l l y back  York.  West's n a r r a t i v e a l l o w s an  a t t a c k on the U n i t e d S t a t e s .  all-encompassing  Lemuel P i t k i n , who  a s i d e show f r e a k and a p o l i t i c a l t o o l , i s the Boy.  is  ends up Ail-American  He h e l p s the N a t i o n a l R e v o l u t i o n a r y P a r t y d e f e a t  Marxism and I n t e r n a t i o n a l C a p i t a l i s m :  "Through the N a t i o n a l  R e v o l u t i o n America's people were purged of a l i e n and America became a g a i n American" (CM, w i t h only American d i s e a s e s . reflects  225).  diseases  We  are  Lem's p h y s i c a l deformity  the deformity of the s o c i e t y o f which he  a p a r t and  a product.  B e t t y , Lem's sweetheart,  from the whore-house, but  The  are more s e r i o u s than the former. Betty i s s t i l l  was  escapes  she becomes Shagpoke's and  N a t i o n a l R e v o l u t i o n ' s whore.  left  the  i m p l i c a t i o n s of the Despite  the f a c t  innocent, that is, a. f o o l , she i s now  latter  that  being used  67  to i n f l u e n c e people's minds.  West's n a r r a t i v e develops  a number of i n c i d e n t a l images, and nation. i s the  surveys the e n t i r e  While the n a r r a t i v e l i n k s image to image, i t i n c r e a s i n g h o r r o r of the  the work.  images which u n i f i e s  Even i n h i s death, Lemuel i s used by  f o r d e s t r u c t i v e ends. Toelast paragraphs of A Cool draw together  others Million  the image o f the great Lemuel P i t k i n , martyr.  " J a i l i s h i s f i r s t reward. Poverty h i s second. Violence i s h i s t h i r d . Death i s h i s l a s t . "Simple was h i s p i l g r i m a g e and b r i e f , yet a thousand years hence, no s t o r y , no tragedy, no e p i c poem w i l l be f i l l e d with g r e a t e r wonder, or be f o l l o w e d by mankind w i t h deeper f e e l i n g , than that which t e l l s o f the l i f e and death of Lemuel P i t k i n . "But I have not answered the q u e s t i o n . Why i s Lemuel P i t k i n great? Why does the martyr move i n triumph and the n a t i o n r i s e up at every stage of h i s coming? Why are the c i t i e s and s t a t e s h i s p a l l b e a r e r s ? "Because, although dead, yet he speaks. "Of what i s i t that he speaks? Of the r i g h t of every American boy to go i n t o the world and there r e c e i v e f a i r p l a y and a chance to make h i s fortune by i n d u s t r y and p r o b i t y without b e i n g laughed a t or c o n s p i r e d a g a i n s t by s o p h i s t i c a t e d a l i e n s . " A l a s , Lemuel P i t k i n h i m s e l f d i d not have t h i s chance, but i n s t e a d was dismantled by the enemy. H i s teeth were p u l l e d out. H i s eye was gouged from h i s head. H i s tlraft*pwas removed. H i s s c a l p was torn away. His l e g was cut o f f . And, f i n a l l y , he was shot through the h e a r t . " (CM, 254-255) U n l i k e A Cool M i l l i o n , which i s c l e a r l y o r d e r e d to provide  i m p l i c i t and  explicit  s a t i r e and  which i s made  up of a group of images that have c l e a r l i n k s  to the"  e x t e r n a l world, West's other works have more than a bare narrative.  F o r example, d e s p i t e  the apparent d i s o r d e r of  68  The  Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l , the work seems to be a  unit i n i t s e l f . to  4  While there are s p e c i f i c , e x p l i c i t  links  the e x t e r n a l world, f o r i n s t a n c e the comments on  theatre-goers  (BS, 30-31) and the numerous l i t e r a r y  a l l u s i o n s , the book does not c o n s i s t s o l e l y of such Notwithstanding thematic  unity.  imagery.  The  links.  the e p i s o d i c s t r u c t u r e , there i s c o n s i d e r a b l e F u r t h e r , the u n i t y i s r e f l e c t e d  i n the  Dream L i f e o f B a l s o S n e l l both mocks  and  d i s c u s s e s s e r i o u s l y r e l i g i o n , a r t , l o v e , and  life.  And  the imagery r e f l e c t s a s i m i l a r d i v i s i o n between the  exposure of p r e t e n d e r s and the d e n i a l of the e x i s t e n c e of  any  to  the l i f e o f St'4 Puce, t e l l s Maloney the  that he  s p i r i t u a l reality.  When B a l s o , a f t e r  listening Areopagite  (Maloney) " i s morbid" (BS, 13), B a l s o i s not  only denying  the p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o n , but a l l r e l i g i o n s .  S i m i l a r l y , when the guide r e c a l l s George Moore's  statement  about a r t , he continues, ^*Art i s not nature, but r a t h e r nature d i g e s t e d . The  effect  A r t i s a sublime excrement" (BS, 8 ) .  i s to deny the  ultimately,  s p i r i t u a l aspect o f a r t and,  the s p i r i t u a l aspect of m a n — o r , more p r e c i s e l y ,  the value o f man's s p i r i t u a l a s p i r a t i o n s . p r o g r e s s e s , each image and i l l u s i o n and  As the book  image-event r e v e a l s both  the f u t i l i t y o f l i f e  man's a s p i r a t i o n s b e i n g o n l y  that r e s u l t s from  illusions.  69  What remains f o r the reader who  f i n i s h e s the work  i s a s e r i e s of images which deny man's s p i r i t u a l and  aspirations  demonstrate that they are a f u n c t i o n " of the body.  A t the same time, the f i n a l climaxes h i s wet  image of B a l s o ' s emission which  dream demonstrates t h a t , although  man  i s o n l y a body, i t , l i k e a r t , r e l i g i o n , and l o v e , i s both f u t i l e and  sterile.  West's o t h e r works, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and  The  Day  of the L o c u s t , are much more complex than A Gool M i l l i o n and  The  Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l i n terms of the  r e l a t i o n s h i p between imagery and p l o t . are c l e a r l y s a t i r e s ,  Whereas the  latter  i f not p a r t i c u l a r l y s u c c e s s f u l ones,  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The  Day o f the Locust are u s u a l l y  r e f e r r e d to as n o v e l s or s a t i r e s or both a t the same time. the two  In o r d e r to understand  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  genres, as West used them, i t i s necessary to l o o k a t  the s t r u c t u r i n g f o r c e the imagery p r o v i d e s and subordinate nature of the One  plot.  of West's most p e r c e p t i v e and a p p r e c i a t i v e c r i t i c s ,  James F. L i g h t , has noted are  the  that the events i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  imagistic:  T h i s s t a t i c , p i c t o r i a l q u a l i t y of the c h a r a c t e r s i s a l s o t r u e o f the a c t i o n , So the a c t i o n s seem candid camera snap-shots o f people caught i n m i d - a i r , posed a g a i n s t a background of d u l l sky and decaying e a r t h . Each, a c t i o n , i n v o l v i n g each c h a r a c t e r , becomes a v i s u a l i z e d symbol of an a b s t r a c t s t a t e of mind and h e a r t , so that one remembers  70  the p i c t u r e s r a t h e r than the d e v e l o p i n g a c t i o n s : M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s b r i n g i n g the k n i f e down upon the lamb; Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s t w i s t i n g the arm o f the c l e a n o l d man; Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s entwined about Doyle w h i l e B e t t y watches the two r o l l down the s t a i r s . 5 Although i t i s t r u e that we remember t h e images, w i t h i n the work the p l o t s t r u c t u r e u n i t e s the sequences o f images s u f f i c i e n t l y that we a r e not p u z z l e d by the e p i s o d i c form as we a r e i n The Dream L i f e o f Balso S n e l l . Mjss L o n e l y h e a r t s  Further,  and The Day of the Locust e x h i b i t  r e a l p l o t s as opposed to the mere n a r r a t i v e o f A Cool,; Million.  The c o n c e n t r a t i o n on Miss  concerns and h i s p e r c e p t i o n more important  Lonelyhearts'  i s a p a r t o f the u n i t y , but  i s the u n i t y of the imagery which c r e a t e s  c h a r a c t e r s i n o p p o s i t i o n , separates  the mental from the  p h y s i c a l , d e s c r i b e s S h r i k e as a machine, t u r n s Betty into a party dress,  t r e a t s the deformed as n a t u r a l , and  u l t i m a t e l y d e p i c t s a world  full  o f s u f f e r i n g and  frustration. L i g h t r e c o g n i z e s West's technique c h a r a c t e r s and images. Shrike:  of s p l i t t i n g  F o r example, he says o f Mrs.  "Not r e a l l y a b l e  to b e l i e v e i n her t i n y dreams,  she y e t needs something on which t o dream. her p e r s o n a l i t y becomes a s p l i t one.  So t o r n ,  This s p l i t i s  i l l u s t r a t e d by the c o n f l i c t w i t h i n her o f the head's knowledge and f e a r s and the body's i n s t i n c t i v e r e a c t i o n s . " '  71  L i g h t a l s o r e c o g n i z e s West's use M i s s Lonelyhearts' c h a r a c t e r . Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' l i k e a hoof" (ML, the man  of an image which  R e f e r r i n g to the image of  bony c h i n which i s •'shaped and 6 9 ) , he w r i t e s :  o f the s p i r i t  splits  "The  r a t h e r than the  cleft  boniness suggests  flesh.  But" one  should note the c l e f t i n the c h i n , i n d i c a t i v e o f the between the the s a i n t . "  s p i r i t and the f l e s h , between the d e v i l 7  and  L i g h t sees West's s e p a r a t i o n o f q u a l i t i e s  of people and t h i n g s ; the poses, and  split  i r r e s o l v a b l e c o n f l i c t s West  the s t a t i c , p i c t o r i a l  q u a l i t y o f the a c t i o n .  I n an e f f o r t to e x p l a i n the source s t y l e , L i g h t c l a i m s that West was Speaking of the t o t a l  o f West's  a Surrealist.  e f f e c t of the n o v e l , he  says:  F a r more important t o the eventual impact are the images that one remembers. These images owe a good d e a l s t y l i s t i c a l l y . . . to the s u r r e a l i s t s . For the n i h i l i s t i c s i d e of s u r r e a l i s m wished to d e s t r o y the world of r a t i o n a l i s m , r e p l a c i n g i t with the s u r - r e a l world o f individual perceptions. T h i s w o r l d , at i t s most t r u t h f u l , was r o o t e d i n dreams and v i s i o n s , where the r a t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p of o b j e c t s was r e p l a c e d by the subconscious and t r u e r v i s i o n : where D a l i c l o c k s hung without suspension i n v a r i - c o l o r e d s k i e s ; where an umbrella and a sewing machine copulate on an o p e r a t i n g t a b l e ; where the symbol of the s u r - r e a l i s the s u r - r e a l i t y of t h e o b j e c t s i n a drug s t o r e , douche bags p i l e d a g a i n s t a s p i r i n - ; b o t t l e s and both o u t l i n e d a g a i n s t a toothpaste ad." I n t h i s k i n d of s u r r e a l p e r c e p t i o n , suggestive o f the cosmic chaos, was, f e l t the s u r - r e a l i s t s , a shocking humor, the humor o f the Jacobean w r i t e r of c o n c e i t s . 9 As examples o f S u r r e a l i s t i c images i n West, he Miss  Lonelyhearts'  cites  72  i n d i v i d u a l i z e d p e r c e p t i o n s : where a man's tongue i s seen as a f a t thumb and a man's cheeks are seen a s r o l l s of t o i l e t paper; where a woman's b u t t o c k s are seen a s enormous g r i n d s t o n e s and a woman's n i p p l e s a r e seen as l i t t l e r e d h a t s ; where a woman i s seen as a t e n t , v e i n e d and covered w i t h h a i r , and a man as a s k e l e t o n i n a c l o s e t ; where the stone s h a f t o f a war memorial becomes a p e n i s , s e x u a l l y d i l a t e d and ready to spout seeds of v i o l e n c e . 1 0 These examples o f West's imagery a r e shocking and disturbing.  But f o l l o w i n g from the a n a l y s i s o f the imagery  i n Chapter I I , i t should be c l e a r that the imagery not  d e r i v e from dreams.  does  On the c o n t r a r y , d e s p i t e L i g h t ' s  a s s e r t i o n that the imagery o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s that of a nightmare  (as he argues i n h i s a r t i c l e :  "Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s :  The Imagery of Nightmare"), t h e images a r e based on ordinary, concrete r e a l i t y .  The t w i s t or shock i n each  example L i g h t g i v e s comes from West's a s s o c i a t i o n of p r o p e r t i e s , q u a l i t i e s , and a s p e c t s which we n o r m a l l y separate.  The f a c t i s , a woman's b u t t o c k s a r e l i k e  stones, and her n i p p l e s a r e l i k e r e d h a t s . West's c h a r a c t e r s e x i s t  grind-  Further,  i n a coherent, i f i m a g i s t i c a l l y  divided, f i c t i o n a l world.  West i s l i k e  the M e t a p h y s i c a l s  and u n l i k e the S u r r e a l i s t s i n that he a s s o c i a t e s or d i s s o c i a t e s i n two dimensions, n o t t h r e e .  The S u r r e a l i s t s  tended t o yoke d i s s i m i l a r o b j e c t s on or i n f r o n t o f a totally  u n r e l a t e d background.  reality  o f t h e everyday world and a s s e r t e d the r e a l i t y  of  the mental or dream w o r l d .  By doing so they denied the  The o d d i t y of a D a l i  73  p a i n t i n g d e r i v e s to a l a r g e extent from the complete incongruity  of the o b j e c t s and t h e i r s e t t i n g .  on the other hand, r e l a t e s h i s f i c t i o n a l world  West, to h i s  c h a r a c t e r s and images so that the reader can comprehend the d i v i s i o n s and s e p a r a t i o n s w i t h i n the work.  Compared  to The Dream L i f e of B a l s o S n e l l , Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s r e a l i s t i c , not s u r r e a l i s t i c . Almost a l l of h i s c r i t i c s a s s o c i a t e West S u r r e a l i s m , d e s p i t e the f a c t that West h i m s e l f was not a S u r r e a l i s t .  1 1  with s a i d he  Although i t cannot be denied  West was i n f l u e n c e d by the S u r r e a l i s t s , I think  that  critics  have obscured the nature o f West's imagery and i t s ' p u r p o s e by over-emphasizing that i n f l u e n c e .  Even A l a n Donovan,  who widens the d e f i n i t i o n o f S u r r e a l i s m to i n c l u d e "any s t y l e which attempts to escape the normal l i m i t s of r e a l i t y by u t i l i z i n g  such methods as the n a r r a t i o n o f  dreams or drug-induced h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , incongruous o r haphazard a s s o c i a t i o n of images, and the d e l i b e r a t e adoption  o f a tone i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r the substance of the  narrative, w 3  2  i s hard pressed  of t h i s k i n d o f imagery.  to account f o r West's use  Donovan c o r r e c t l y notes the  d i s t a n c i n g e f f e c t of West's imagery when he w r i t e s : "Perhaps the most outstanding istic  y e t questionable  character-  o f West's s u r r e a l i s m , l i k e that o f more recent n o v e l i s t s ,  i s the a e s t h e t i c d i s t a n c e i t a f f e c t s between the le.ader  74  and  the c h a r a c t e r s . ? -  F u r t h e r , he says that "the  10  tone o f a n o v e l , f o r i n s t a n c e , renders u n l i k e l y feeling  f o r i t s c h a r a c t e r s as p e o p l e . "  E a r l e Shoop, the cowboy i n The Day  surreal  any  Speaking  1 4  of  o f the Locust, Donovan  c l a i m s "His f u n c t i o n as a c a r i c a t u r e i s c l e a r ; h i s f u n c t i o n i 5 as a t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l human being i s n o t . " The argument being p r e s e n t e d runs as f o l l o w s : West's images are S u r r e a l i s t i c , S u r r e a l i s t i c d i s t a n c e the reader from  images  c h a r a c t e r s w i t h i n n o v e l s , novels  which i n c l u d e t h i s k i n d of imagery are, t h e r e f o r e , difficult  to  evaluate,  the problem c l e a r l y .  and West's n o v e l s demonstrate  F u r t h e r , Donovan i m p l i e s that West's  n o v e l s a r e not r e a l l y very good because o f the imagery.  The  b a s i c assumption  i s that as a S u r r e a l i s t , imagery t o enable his  which u n d e r l i e s ihe  West was  trying  as we  argument  t o use h i s  the reader to understand,  c h a r a c t e r s i n the same way  Surrealistic  or fee:l f o r ,  do i n o t h e r n o v e l s .  I f , on the other hand, we assume that West's imagery i s designed  to make us see, as opposed t o understand  empathize w i t h , the c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r world, we an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t I f we  divided  the lack of c h a r a c t e r a n a l y s i s and  w i l l l e a d us to conclude t h a t S u r r e a l i s t i c not work i n the novel  have  c r i t e r i o n by which to judge West.  judge West as a n o v e l i s t , the j a r r i n g ,  imagery, and  and  development  imagery does  (or a t l e a s t West's n o v e l s ) .  However,  75  i f we look a t the imagery i t s e l f , and see how  West uses  i t , we w i l l see that i t i s not used i n the same way the S u r r e a l i s t s used t h e i r d i s j o i n t e d it  used f o r a s i m i l a r purpose.  as  images, nor i s  West's imagery i s n o t  completely d i s j o i n t e d , t h a t i s , u n r e l a t e d t o other images, and does i n f a c t demonstrate c o n s i d e r a b l e coherence, as we have a l r e a d y seen.  F u r t h e r , the imagery i s c l o s e l y  r e l a t e d t o the s t r u c t u r e o f each work. T h i s p o i n t i s important because the power o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , f o r example, comes n o t only from the imagery, but a l s o from the novel i s t i c The  s t r u c t u r i n g o f the work.  c l o s e l y woven l o g i c which l e a d s to Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s '  final  d e l u s i o n i s b a s i c to the work's e f f e c t i v e n e s s .  C o n t r a r y to Helen P e t r u l l o ' s argument that  the n o v e l i s t i c  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f West's Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s d i s g u i s e the s a t i r e and i t s main t a r g e t ,  1  6  the n o v e l i s t i c  elements p r o v i d e coherence and r e f l e c t imagery.  Rather than d i s g u i s e  the u n i t y o f the  the s a t i r e , these elements  p r o v i d e the s t r u c t u r e which i s used to c r e a t e a f i c t i o n a l world which, i n i t s e l f , r e p r e s e n t s the everyday world as being absurd. i s Shrike. is futile,  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s not t h e t a r g e t , nor  The t a r g e t i s l i f e i n which s u f f e r i n g  i n which the C h r i s t dream i s r e a l and a l l - p e r v a s i v e ,  and i n which those w i t h s e n s i t i v i t y must f o r s a k e any hope of a m e l i o r a t i n g the misery o f o t h e r s o r of themselves.  76  Without  the c r e a t i o n of a u n i f i e d f i c t i o n a l world, West's  s a t i r e would have remained i n the sense  l i m i t e d and p a r t i c u l a r i z e d  that he would have had  e v i l s i n the everyday w o r l d . complete,  By c r e a t i n g a r e l a t i v e l y  i f d i v i d e d , f i c t i o n a l world, and d e s t r o y i n g the  world and the main c h a r a c t e r s w i t h i n for  to a t t a c k p a r t i c u l a r  i t who  come to stand  the b e s t p o s s i b l e a s p i r a t i o n s i n the c r e a t e d world,  West i s a b l e to a t t a c k l i f e The  itself.  f i c t i o n a l w o r l d West c r e a t e s i n M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s  does not deny the r a t i o n a l or everyday world and  assert  a dream world or p a r t i c u l a r i z e d p e r c e p t i o n o f the everyday world.  Rather, the t i g h t p l o t t i n g  and the c o n s i s t e n t  imagery c r e a t e a v i s i o n which i s d i s t u r b i n g because based upon reasonable assumptions reality.  To suggest  it is  and mundane, everyday  that Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s moves away  from.; p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y  to the r e a l i t y o f the mind or  dreams i s to deny, i n my  o p i n i o n , the purpose  West i n c l u d e s i n the work.  of the  letters  At the o u t s e t , M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s  r e a l i z e s t h a t the l e t t e r s are s e r i o u s , and i s an aspect of the r e a l world.  that  suffering  In f a c t , as the book  p r o g r e s s e s he r e a l i z e s that s u f f e r i n g pervades  life.  By i n c l u d i n g the l e t t e r s , West expands h i s f i c t i o n a l world so t h a t i t seems t o r e p r e s e n t the e n t i r e r e a l or e x t e r n a l world.  S u f f e r i n g , p a i n , and f r u s t r a t i o n are  characteristics.  life's  These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are not a s p e c t s  77  o f the mind or o f dreams; they are r e a l i t y f i c t i o n a l world and  the everyday w o r l d .  c r e a t e d world i s r e a l i s t i c , not  both i n the  ThuSj West's  Surrealistic.  I f we examine the sequence of t h e images and i t s u n i t y , and then examine the p l o t s t r u c t u r e  note  and  r e c o g n i z e i t s u n i t y , we w i l l be a b l e to see that West's f i c t i o n a l world i s r a t i o n a l , despite i t s d i v i s i o n s .  In  f a c t , we w i l l see that West's e n t i r e f i c t i o n a l world i m p l i c i t l y comments on the e x t e r n a l everyday world, and that t h i s forms the b a s i s of the s a t i r i c a t t a c k . important p o i n t i s that i t i s the complete  The  fictional  world which West c r e a t e s and d e s t r o y s which forms the s a t i r e , not a s e r i e s o f i m p l i c i t the e x t e r n a l world throughout e n t a l a t t a c k s on p a r t i c u l a r When we  the work which p r o v i d e i n c i d -  targets.  The work ^begins w i t h the i n v e r s i o n o f  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s no l o n g e r finds the We  letters  then r e a d three examples o f the l e t t e r s  and r e a l i z e t h a t Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s r i g h t ; the are not funny.  to  see the process by which West c r e a t e s  h i s divided world.  to be funny.  links  look at the sequence of images i n Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s , we  a joke:  and e x p l i c i t  letters  From the outset then, we are i n t r o d u c e d  to un-funny jokes and  ironies.  ;While we are i n t r o d u c e d  to M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s and "the s u f f e r i n g of the l e t t e r West does not e l i c i t  writers,  our concern f o r Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  78  or the l e t t e r - w r i t e r s as c h a r a c t e r s .  The  focus i s on  the  l e t t e r s and what they stand f o r , and on Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' job.  The  s l i g h t l y humorous s p e l l i n g of c e r t a i n words and  the poor grammatical s t r u c t u r e combined w i t h the  startling  s i m p l i c i t y of the l e t t e r s moves us away from the c h a r a c t e r s towards the f a c t of s u f f e r i n g .  A l s o , the p r e c l s e n e s s  of  d e t a i l and  the c o n c e n t r a t i o n on s u f f e r i n g , as opposed  to  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , moves us to c o n s i d e r the  of  the s u f f e r i n g .  reality  Thus, a t the very b e g i n n i n g of the  work .we are i n t r o d u c e d to Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  trying  to  answer the i m p o s s i b l e and to s o l v e the i n s o l u b l e .  We  a l s o see Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s as a man  the f l e s h and the s p i r i t . ends with  Finally*  d i v i d e d between  the f i r s t  the i n t r o d u c t i o n of S h r i k e and h i s  j o k i n g answers to the l e t t e r s .  false,  With S h r i k e ' s e n t r y ,  the extreme response:-; to the l e t t e r s becomes S h r i k e , the C y n i c , laughs at what we take s e r i o u s l y . world  chapter  apparent.  and Miss  Lonelyhearts  A l r e a d y , the shape of West's d i v i d e d  i s becoming e v i d e n t . The f i r s t paragraphs of the second chapter,  L o n e l y h e a r t s and  the dead pan,"  expand the world  "Miss  from  l e t t e r s and c h a r a c t e r s to a p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n of the fictional it  setting.  As V i c t o r Comerchero has p o i n t e d out,  i s l i k e T.S. E l i o t ' s Waste L a n d .  l e a v e s work, e n t e r s a park, and we  1 7  Miss  Lonelyhearts  learn that  79  As f a r as he could d i s c o v e r , there were no s i g n s of s p r i n g . The.decay t h a t covered the s u r f a c e of the m o t t l e d ground was not the k i n d i n which l i f e generates. L a s t year* he remembered, May had f a i l e d to quicken these soiled fields. I t had taken a l l the b r u t a l i t y of J u l y to t o r t u r e a few green s p i k e s through the exhausted d i r t . What the l i t t l e park needed, even more than he d i d , was a drink,. (ML, 70) The  atmosphere of decay r e f l e c t s Miss  mind.  I t a l s o d e s c r i b e s the s t a t e of the  world. and  Lonelyhearts'  The  world  is still  ordered  fictional  i n t h a t i t has months  seasons, but s p r i n g does not r e s u l t i n f l o w e r s .  then p r e s e n t s  images r e f l e c t i n g Miss  divided character:  West  Lonelyhearts'  he wants to laugh at h i m s e l f ,  and  cannot; he wants to be s p i r i t u a l l y h e l p f u l to o t h e r s , and has o n l y a stone  in his. gut; he wants a m i r a c l e ,  sees only a grey sky and  newspaper s t r u g g l i n g i n the a i r  " l i k e a k i t e with a broken s p i n e " (ML, to  and  71).  We  proceed  images o f S h r i k e as an a c t o r , Miss F a r k i s as a, body  without  a mind, r e l i g i o n as a mechanical e x e r c i s e ,  f i n a l l y , S t r i k e as a seduction machine.  From the  image of S h r i k e the machine, we move to Miss the seeker fails.  o f s p i r i t u a l meaning.  He  sustained  Lonelyhearts  t r i e s to l o v e ,  He a l s o t r i e s v a r i o u s other dreams, but  f o r c e d back to the r e a l i t y of the  and,  letters.  The  and  i s always rest of  the book i s the i m a g i s t i c r e c o r d of h i s attempt t o cope with and upon  him.  answer the s u f f e r i n g h i s l e t t e r - w r i t e r s  press  80  Without a dream t o e x p l a i n l i f e ,  Miss  Lonelyhearts  becomes aware o f the chaos o f l i f e . F o r a l i t t l e w h i l e , he seemed t o h o l d h i s own but one day he found h i m s e l f w i t h h i s back to the w a l l . On that day a l l the inanimate t h i n g s over which he had t r i e d to o b t a i n c o n t r o l took the f i e l d a g a i n s t him. When he touched something, i t s p i l l e d or r o l l e d t o the f l o o r . The c o l l a r buttons disappeared under t h e bed, the p o i n t of the p e n c i l broke, the handle o f the r a z o r f e l l o f f , the window shade r e f u s e d to s t a y down. He fought, but w i t h too much v i o l e n c e , and was d e c i s i v e l y defeated by the s p r i n g of the alarm c l o c k . (ML;». 78) A f t e r demonstrating  h i s f a i l u r e i n h i s own.na.rrow world,  West moves Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i n t o the l a r g e r world, that  fictional  t h a t i s , the complete f i c t i o n a l world, t o show  i t too i s c h a o t i c .  He f l e d to the s t r e e t , but t h e r e chaos was m u l t i p l e . Broken groups 6X people h u r r i e d p a s t , forming n e i t h e r s t a r s nor squares. The lamp-posts were badly spaced and t h e f l a g g i n g was of d i f f e r e n t s i z e s . Nor could he do a n y t h i n g w i t h the h a r s h c l a n g i n g sound of s t r e e t c a r s and the raw shouts of h u c k s t e r s . No repeated group of words would f i t t h e i r rhythm and no s c a l e c o u l d give them meaning. (ML, 78-79) ;  Seeking o r d e r and meaning, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s remembers h i s fiance'e B e t t y , but " h i s confusion was s i g n i f i c a n t ,  while  her order was n o t " (ML, 7 9 ) . Again with B e t t y , .West s e t s up images which r e f l e c t mental o r p h i l o s o p h i c a l positions.  Whereas S h r i k e mocked s u f f e r i n g ,  denies i t s e x i s t e n c e . no s o l u t i o n .  Betty  F o r Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , she p r o v i d e s  ''Betty the Buddha" (ML, 80)  ignores Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s f r u s t r a t i o n and s p i r i t u a l s i c k n e s s , and asks i f he i s p h y s i c a l l y s i c k .  In r e p l y he  shouts  81  W e l l , I'm not s i c k . I don't need any of your damned aspirin. I've got a C h r i s t complex. Humanity . . . I'm a humanity l o v e r . A l l the broken bastards . . . . (ML, 81) From here the p l o t  continues t o develop  situations  which present the v a r i o u s avenues of escape open t o Miss Lonelyhearts:  l a u g h i n g at s u f f e r i n g , memories, v i o l e n c e ,  sex, the c o u n t r y .  Each i s t r i e d and  found  wanting.  Because of i t s r e l i a n c e upon images, Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s l i k e a comic s t r i p , ^ and  because of i t s b r e v i t y ,  the  v i o l e n c e which r e s u l t s from Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' f r u s t r a t i o n i n f u s e s the e n t i r e work.  The  suppressed  rage he  feels  a g a i n s t an imperfect c i g a r e t t e i s f o l l o w e d by h i s i n a b i l i t y to order the p h y s i c a l world, by h i s k i l l i n g the lamb f i n a l l y , by h i s b e a t i n g the c l e a n o l d man.  and,  When v i o l e n c e  does not ease t h i s f r u s t r a t i o n , Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s p h y s i c a l love with Mary Shrike and Fay Doyle,  tries  compassion  f o r P e t e r Doyle, romantic l o v e i n the country with B e t t y . None of these a l l e v i a t e s u f f e r i n g .  U l t i m a t e l y Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s t r i e s s p i r i t u a l l o v e , but o f the world merely final  i t l e a d s him  out  i n t h a t he becomes a stone, and as such he  accepts s u f f e r i n g , which c o n t i n u e s t o e x i s t . image p r e s e n t s Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s secure 19  and s e p a r a t e from r e a l i t y .  The  in his faith  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , the  c h a r a c t e r , i s d e s t r o y e d , l e a v i n g the p h y s i c a l and  deluded  spiritual  c r i p p l e s i n the f i c t i o n a l world, and by i m p l i c a t i o n , i n the e x t e r n a l world.  82  While Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s i s a sequence of imageevents which deny the p o s s i b i l i t y of e s c a p i n g from the r e a l i t y of s u f f e r i n g , the work, as i t p r o g r e s s e s , i n c r e a s e s the i n t e n s i t y o f the images used to p o r t r a y the of  suffering.  to  images o f the l e t t e r - w r i t e r s — t h e Doyles.  The work moves from examples o f the l e t t e r s  the other l e t t e r - w r i t e r s whom we concerned w i t h they m a r r i e d  As w i t h  do not see, we are not  them as c h a r a c t e r s .  Although we  learn  why  i n the f i r s t p l a c e , t h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l  r e a l i s m merely In  reality  accentuates the h o r r o r of t h e i r  situation.  West, the e x p l a n a t i o n s do not e x p l a i n the problem  away.  We may  know that Fay married Peter out o f d e s p e r a t i o n  when she found that she was pregnant,  but t h i s does n o t  e x p l a i n P e t e r ' s deformed body, nor Fay's animal  nature.  West focuses our a t t e n t i o n on t h e i r problem r a t h e r than on i t s causes.  In The Dream L i f e o f B a l s o S n e l l ,  l i s t s the p o s s i b l e causes of unhappiness and  Balso  dissatisfaction:  Having no a l t e r n a t i v e , Balso blamed the war, the i n v e n t i o n of p r i n t i n g , n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y s c i e n c e , communism, the wearing of s o f t h a t s , the use o f c o n t r a c e p t i v e s , the l a r g e number of d e l i c a t e s s e n s t o r e s , the movies, the t a b l o i d s , the l a c k of adequate v e n t i l a t i o n i n l a r g e c i t i e s , the p a s s i n g of the saloon, the s o f t c o l l a r f a d , the spread of f o r e i g n a r t , the d e c l i n e o f t h e western world, commercialism, and, f i n a l l y , f o r throwing the a r t i s t back on h i s p e r s o n a l i t y , the r e n a i s s a n c e . (BS, 31) Gf course, these e x p l a i n n o t h i n g .  Knowledge does not  p r o v i d e an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r p a i n and d e f o r m i t y i n the world; i t merely  l a b e l s causes.  S i m i l a r l y , the knowledge o f c e r t a i n  83  f a i l u r e does not a l l e v i a t e Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s  need t o  1  dream that he can help people by l o v i n g them. West uses h i s d i v i d e d imagery to show us t h a t h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' needs and d e s i r e s c o n f l i c t w i t h  reality.  For example, we see t h a t Fay Doyle d e s i r e s sex, i s married to a c r i p p l e . l o v e , y e t he i s married  S i m i l a r l y , Peter  but she  Doyle needs  to a woman who equates sex and  l o v e , and he i s incapable  of s a t i s f y i n g her.  Not o n l y do  we see the s e p a r a t i o n of dreams from r e a l i t y , we a l s o see the  i r o n y o f these two b e i n g m a r r i e d t o one another. Fay,  the f e r t i l i t y  image i n the work (ML, 101),  to the c r i p p l e s of t h i s world; t h e r e f o r e " f i t t i n g " that she should The  gives  birth  i tis ironically  be coupled t o the c r i p p l e d P e t e r .  i r o n y draws us away from the c h a r a c t e r s as such to  the a b s t r a c t c o n s i d e r a t i o n of how t o l i v e absurd w o r l d .  i n an i r o n i c o r  The S h r i k e s ' marriage i s a l s o f i t t i n g i n  so f a r a s S h r i k e  i s the c o l d , machine-like c y n i c and h i s  wife Mary i s the f r i g i d woman.  While Mary d r i v e s  to the Miss F a r k i s e s o f the world, S h r i k e  Shrike  i s unable t o love  Mary and enable her to overcome h e r f r i g i d i t y .  They  s u i t each other,  the need  destroy  f o r t h e i r f u t i l e dreams. women w i l l  each o t h e r , and c r e a t e Shrike b e l i e v e s that  solve h i s problem, and Mary i n t u r n b e l i e v e s  t h a t " v i r g i n i t y " w i l l enable her to s u r v i v e . deluded.  other  Both a r e  84  The p l o t t i n g as w e l l as the imagery a l l o w s us to see the d i v i s i o n s , i r o n i e s and c u l m i n a t i n g i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s . one  frustration  Because each c h a p t e r c o n c e n t r a t e s on  event t o which Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s r e a c t s , Miss  Lonelyhearts  becomes the r e f e r e n c e p o i n t f o r t h e whole work. But, from the beginning, h i s c h a r a c t e r i s d i v i d e d , and h i s perceptions are i m a g i s t i c . plot links,  The book moves, w i t h minimal  to images o f v a r i o u s escape r o u t e s open to  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s .  Each i s a l o g i c a l  consequence o f the  p r e c e d i n g event, and each i s a more desperate to f i n d a s a t i s f a c t o r y i l l u s i o n .  attempt  West c a r e f u l l y  graduates  h i s i n c i d e n t s so that Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' apparent i n c r e a s e s w h i l e the apparent impossible.  need  escape becomes more o b v i o u s l y  F o r example, the book moves from attempts  a t sexual escapes with Mary S h r i k e and Fay Doyle to an escape i n t o t h e n a t u r a l surroundings o f the c o u n t r y . the country  But  i s o b v i o u s l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y because Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s i s aware of and deeply i n v o l v e d i n the s u f f e r i n g o f s o c i e t y and he must go back to the c i t y .  When he does,  he knows that B e t t y ' s s i m p l i c i t y , which i s r e p r e s e n t e d by the country, i s not the answer.  He then t r i e s  to help  the Doyles by p r e a c h i n g l o v e , but even b e f o r e he begins he knows t h a t he i s going to make a f o o l o f h i m s e l f . I t becomes apparent only solution,,,  that withdrawal  from the world  A s o l u t i o n has been found  i s the  f o r Miss  Lonelyhearts,  85  but the reader knows that h i s i s no s o l u t i o n f o r the world.  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s has  w r i t e r s and  f a i l e d t o help the  t h e i r s u f f e r i n g has  s u r v i v e d him.  real  letter-  He has even  c r e a t e d more misery; B e t t y i s going to bear h i s c h i l d . The p l o t t i n g p r o v i d e s the framework f o r the images. The  logic  of the p l o t merely miakes the images more h o r r i f y i n g ,  and what p s y c h o l o g i c a l depth there i s t o the c h a r a c t e r s merely accentuates  the r e a l i t y o f the d i v i s i o n between  a s p i r a t i o n s and r e a l i t y .  In the end,  o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s c o l l a p s e s .  the f i c t i o n a l  world  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ,  the s p i r i t u a l dreamer, i s k i l l e d ; P e t e r Doyle, the p h y s i c a l c r i p p l e , remains.  S u f f e r i n g dominates -an i r r e c o n c i l a b l y  d i v i d e d world, and  se see t h a t , d e s p i t e man's need f o r  dreams and hope and  l o v e and p o e t r y , there i s no escape from  f r u s t r a t i o n and v i o l e n c e . When West came to w r i t e h i s l a s t work, The Day L o c u s t , he again used h i s technique  of the  of s u b o r d i n a t i n g p l o t  20 to images.  As  i n A Cool M i l l i o n , the images i n c r e a s e i n  i n t e n s i t y from minor mock r i o t s to l i m i t e d r i o t s general r i o t s  ( i n Mrs.  Jenning's  (Faye, E a r l e , Miguel and Tod)  house)  to more  (the second " c o c k - f i g h t " I n s i d e Homer's  house i n c l u d e s a l l of the main charactexs) to t o t a l i t l o t (the f i n a l  image o f the book).  and Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , The s o l e l y on the p r o t a g o n i s t .  Day  But u n l i k e A Cool M i l l i o n of the Locust i s not  I t i s much more d i f f u s e  centred  86  and  develops a number of d i f f e r e n t  which the work i s c o n c e n t r a t e d . made motion  picture.  Tod, Hollywood,"  and  image-characters  around  The work i s l i k e a w e l l -  I t s t a r t s w i t h separate images of the performers who  are the c h e a t e r s .  I t then moves to an image of the cheated, Homer.  West then  i n t r o d u c e s h i s example o f a cheated performer, H a r r y . With the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f these three c h a r a c t e r s , we have the two  b a s i c images of the work b e f o r e u s .  Tod  i s h a r d l y c h a r a c t e r i z e d at a l l except to the e x t e n t t h a t we w i l l accept h i s p e r c e p t i o n of Hollywood's  sham, u g l i n e s s ,  and d i v i s i o n between a s p i r a t i o n and r e a l i t y , or needs and c a p a b i l i t i e s . through which we  Tod then becomes, e s s e n t i a l l y , see the events.  Harry and Homer, on the  o t h e r hand, e s t a b l i s h the fundamental the f i c t i o n a l world. plot,  the eyes  d i v i s i o n within  Homer, through the events i n the  becomes the l i v i n g example o f the suppressed rage of  the mob.  The l o n g i n t r o d u c t i o n of h i s character-image  which I have d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r e s t a b l i s h e s the s e p a r a t i o n between mind and body. h i s mind. %en  H i s hands are not c o n t r o l l e d  by  He needs sex, beauty, l o v e , c o n t a c t , purpose.  he meets Faye, he gains a d r e a m .  21  The B'ay of the Locu'st  r e c o r d s h i s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , h i s being cheated.  Harry  i s the cheater, and H a r r y ' s daughter  image  o f h i s i n a b i l i t y to separate l i f e  isa'parallel  from a c t i n g .  His  mechanical a c t i o n s are d i f f e r e n t from Homer's b e s t i a l  desires,  87  but the r e s u l t s a r e s i m i l a r .  Both men are unable t o c o n t r o l  the body's a c t i o n s and r e p r e s s i o n s .  F o r Harry, the a c t  i s separate from the meaning, a s i t i s w i t h Faye, -A-dore, and E a r l e .  Although Harry's mind and body, l i k e Homer's,  are i n o p p o s i t i o n .  Harry i s not aware that h i s dream o f  a c t i n g has made him i t s v i c t i m . has been cheated.  He i s not aware that he  But the reader i s , and t h e r e s u l t a n t  i r o n y c o l l a p s e s the d i s t i n c t i o n between the c h e a t e r s and the cheated s e t up i n the w o r l d ,  Thus, the images remain  d i v i d e d , but the work i s u n i f i e d because  the reader sees  that both groups o f i n d i v i d u a l s , d e s p i t e t h e i r v a r y i n g degrees of awareness,  are cheated, f r u s t r a t e d , and trapped  i n a world without beauty and romance, but l e f t w i t h the need f o r b o t h . The Day of the L o c u s t opens w i t h a complex s e r i e s o f short images which Tod  set up a d i v i d e d world.  Each  time  sees a p a r t i c u l a r t h i n g , he a l s o sees that i t i s  something e l s e .  F o r example, he sees an army, and i t  i s an army o f a c t o r s ; he sees a group o f people i n s p o r t s c l o t h e s who a r e coming home from work; he sees Mexican, Samoan, E g y p t i a n , and Japanese  s t y l e d houses and knows  that they are p l a s t e r , l a t h and paper.  The dual nature  o f the t h i n g s r e f l e c t s the dual nature o f West's c h a r a c t e r s .  88  Although the breadth of v i s i o n o f The Day of the L o c u s t i s f a r more e x t e n s i v e than i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , the p l o t i s s i m i l a r i n so f a r as i t p r o v i d e s the s t r u c t u r e f o r the images which b i n d the work t o g e t h e r .  Through Tod,  the  n a r r a t o r , West graduates our i n t r o d u c t i o n t o the c h a r a c t e r s carefully.  We f i r s t meet Abe K u s i c h , the dwarf.  r a c e - t r a c k t i p s are i l l u s i o n s , but he Next we  go to Claude ^ s t e e ' s p a r t y and  Jenning*s g e n t e e l whorehouse. of  His  i s a p e t t y cheater. from t h e r e to Mrs.  Claude's guests are a k i n d  whore to t h e i r audience's dreams, and at the same time  the c r e a t o r s of the dreams which cheat t h e i r  audience.  Mrs. J e n n i n g cheats the c h e a t e r s with h e r f i l m Le de M a r i e .  The  c h e a t i n g i s becoming more s e r i o u s .  Predicament I t has  moved from money (Abe) to sex (Mrs. J e n n i n g ) . West then g r a d u a l l y develops h i s f i r s t major imageevent of the c h e a t e r s and the cheated. i n t r o d u c i n g H a r r y Greener, Homer*s hands,  fthey  After  briefly  he c o n c e n t r a t e s on Homer and  are even d e s c r i b e d i n the p a s s i v e v o i c e .  When Homer cuts h i m s e l f "while opening a can of salmon f o r l u n c h , " we are t o l d that " h i s thumb r e c e i v e d a n a s t y cut . . . i t was  c a r r i e d t o the sink by i t s mate . . . (DL, 296-297).  As a r e s u l t o f t h i s image, we divided character. of  A t the same time West expands the image  Homer i n two ways.  the one  see the nature of Homer's  By i n c l u d i n g Homer's memories o f  sexual experience i n h i s l i f e , we  see  something  89  of  the s e r i o u s n e s s of Homer's problem,  although we  do not  l e a r n a n y t h i n g about the causes o f h i s extreme sexual frustration.  A l s o , West's d e s c r i p t i o n o f Homer's house and  Homer's a t t i t u d e to Hollywood of  expands the f i c t i o n a l world  the work and adds to the v i s i o n of a d i v i d e d w o r l d .  The r e c o u n t i n g o f Harry's a t t a c k i n Homer's house l i n k s the two  c h a r a c t e r s and develops the images o f the c h e a t e r s .  Homer's hands and H a r r y ' s a c t i n g are e q u a l l y and both work on the same p r i n c i p l e ,  revolting,  jajy c o n c e n t r a t i n g  on c e r t a i n a s p e c t s of t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s , West c r e a t e s a n a t u r a l grotesque, a grotesque image which i s based on d e f o r m i t y nor on the s u r r e a l ,  neither  but on mundane, o r d i n a r y  facts. With his  the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f Faye i n t o Homer's l i f e ,  dream or f u t i l e a s p i r a t i o n Is c r e a t e d .  ready to become one of the cheated.  He i s now  But i t i s n e c e s s a r y  to  show the n a t u r e o f the dream he ha3, and West proceeds  to  develop Faye's c h a r a c t e r .  mechanical. Homer (who of  s  he  l i k e her f a t h e r , i s  She too, l i k e Homer, has dreams.  But,  i s not yet d i s i l l u s i o n e d and t h e r e f o r e not  the inhuman crowd), her dreams d e s t r o y her  humanity, and v a l u e s . by money and  looks.  one  sensitivity,  Love f o r her must be accompanied  Tod f a i l s completely on t h i s account,  but Homer has money, and h i s r i v a l , E a r l e Shoop;, looks.  unlike  has  90  The book develops image-events which demonstrate that each man i s taken i n b y Faye's s u p e r f i c i a l The f r u s t r a t i o n and r e s u l t a n t  charms.22  v i o l e n c e i n c r e a s e s as the  d e s i r e f o r the dream i n c r e a s e s and the f r u s t r a t i o n o f f a i l u r e to o b t a i n or r e a l i z e the dream becomes s t r o n g e r . growing g e n e r a l i t y  o f the r i o t s , up to t h e f i n a l  The riot,  r e v o l v e s around the s e x u a l f r u s t r a t i o n which Faye, the Hollywood s t a r dream, c r e a t e s .  Even Tod, and t o a l e s s e r  extent Claude, a r e drawn i n by h e r body.  H i s awareness  i s no s o l u t i o n because he i s not j u s t a mind, but a l s o a body.  With the minor r i o t  or c d c k - f i g h t i n Homer's  house, Homer too i s d i s i l l u s i o n e d , but he s t i l l dream.  With h i s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t ,  no Danger c o n t r o l l e d unified  his frustration i s  and even h i s dead body a c t s as a  f o r c e when he jumps on Adore and thereby p r o v i d e s  a r e l e a s e f o r the mob's rage. divdd:ed  needs a  Tod, d u r i n g the r i o t , remains  between h i s body, which i s p u l l e d  and h i s mind, which i s p u l l e d U l t i m a t e l y , he too succumbs  by h i s v i s i o n  by the mob, and p a i n t i n g .  to the body.  The s i r e n began to scream and a t f i r s t he thought he was making the noise h i m s e l f . He f e l t h i s l i p s w i t h h i s hands. They were clamped t i g h t . He knew then i t was the s i r e n . F o r some reason t h i s made him laugh and he began t o i m i t a t e the s i r e n as loud as he c o u l d . (DL, 421) His mental v i s i o n physical  action—a  i s no answer, and h i s warning must be a scream.  Y e t the warning i s ambiguous  because at t h i s p o i n t he cannot c o n t r o l  h i s body o r h i s mind.  91  He  i s l a u g h i n g f o r no reason or o n l y because l a u g h t e r  i s the o n l y p o s s i b l e r e a c t i o n to i r r a t i o n a l and he  i s screaming l i k e a madman.  violence,  With the  final  image, the r e a d e r must r e j e c t Tod, as he d i d Miss L o n e l y h e a r t , and yet Tod's q u a l i t i e s of v i s i o n and awareness pet  have been the most admirable i n the book.  The reader  i s l e f t w i t h n o t h i n g except Tod's p a i n t i n g and o f a f i c t i o n a l world d e s t r o y i n g i t s e l f .  The  the image  function  o f West's p l o t t i n g i s to b u i l d to the f i n a l image and at the same time to d e s t r o y t h e c h a r a c t e r s and world created by the p l o t and  images.  In West's two works which have a p l o t , as to a mere n a r r a t i v e , i t Is c l e a r t h a t the p l o t i n two ways.  opposed  functions  I t c r e a t e s s i t u a t i o n s which enable West  to develop h i s d i v i d e d images,  and  i t also  demonstrates  the i n t e r a c t i o n o f the v a r i o u s d i v i s i o n s contained w i t h i n the d i v i d e d images.  The r e a d e r , through the plot,, sees  that Homer's p h y s i c a l and emotional i n c a p a c i t y i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o Faye's empty charms and a v i c t i m o f her own  desires.  that Faye i n turn i s  S i m i l a r l y , i n Miss .Lonelyhearts.  the p l o t enables the r e a d e r t o see Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ' growing f r u s t r a t i o n and t h e d i s p a r i t y between h i s dream and reality.  However, i n n e i t h e r work does the p l o t  explain  the causes o f t h e c o n f l i c t s and o p p o s i t i o n s or develop the c h a r a c t e r s i n depth.  P l o t f o r West i s a means o f .  l i n k i n g images and of demonstrating the f a t e of h i s d i v i d e d  92  characters.  As such i t does not draw us i n t o the  world; r a t h e r , i t enables us to see the of the presented d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n i t .  fictional  inter-relations  CHAPTER IV  NOVELS AS SATIRE  We have, to t h i s p o i n t , examined the imagery w i t h i n West's work and seen t h a t West c r e a t e s h i s c h a r a c t e r s and h i s f i c t i o n a l world  through d i v i d e d images.  e i t h e r by c o n c e n t r a t i n g on s p e c i f i c opposing  He does t h i s qualities  w i t h i n each c h a r a c t e r o r t h i n g o r by f o c u s i n g upon one p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t y , thereby  i m p l i c i t l y commenting on the  absence o f i t s o p p o s i t e , and c o n t r a s t i n g t h e p a r t i c u l a r t h i n g o r character w i t h another t h i n g o r c h a r a c t e r . we have seen, the imagery d e a l s with  surfaces.  the s u r f a c e s o f t e n r e f l e c t or e x e m p l i f y  internal  As  Although states  o f mind, the emphasis i s on appearances and on e x p l i c i t or i m p l i c i t  reality.  When West does move i n s i d e h i s  c h a r a c t e r s and present p s y c h o l o g i c a l d e t a i l s , the purpose i s to r e i n f o r c e the b a s i c image, not to e x p l a i n t h e cause o f the r e s u l t we see.  The e f f e c t o f West's.imagery i s  to d i s t a n c e the reader from the c h a r a c t e r s , y e t the imagery i s s u f f i c i e n t l y s t a r t l i n g t o maintain f i c t i o n a l world.  our i n t e r e s t i n the  F u r t h e r , while we are n o t v e r y  concerned  about the c h a r a c t e r s themselves, we do become concerned  94  about  the world i n which they e x i s t , and t h e i r  suffering,  or perhaps more a c c u r a t e l y , the s u f f e r i n g which t h e y repre sent. The p l o t t i n g i n both Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The  Day  of the L o c u s t supports the treatment o f the c h a r a c t e r s . Because of the m u l t i p l e i r o n i e s which develop, we take any c h a r a c t e r completely s e r i o u s l y .  cannot  For example,  d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t West s e t s Tod Hackett up as an honest observer i n The Day  of t h e L o c u s t . Tod's d e s i r e  f o r Faye and i n a b i l i t y to h e l p Homer i n d i c a t e h i s weaknesses and l i m i t a t i o n s . books.  And  There are no heroes  i n West's  none o f the types he r e p r e s e n t s r e s o l v e the  c o n f l i c t between need and a b i l i t y s a t i s f a c t o r i l y .  West's  p l o t t i n g both supports the d e v e l o p i n g sequence o f images and demonstrates  the consequences o f a d i v i d e d w o r l d  populated by d i v i d e d  people.  When the reader becomes aware of the consequences o f the d i v i s i o n s , he s t a r t s to l o o k f o r flaws i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the f i c t i o n a l world, to examine the p l o t s t r u c t u r e f o r ways t o say i t i s u n r e a l i s t i c , the imagery  to see i f i t i s f a n t a s t i c .  to study  The h o r r o r of West's  world i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day of t h e L o c u s t , and to a l e s s e r e x t e n t i n A Cool M i l l i o n , way  out.  The  i s that there i s no  simple b e g i n n i n g e n t a i l s the h o r r i f i c  ending.  95  It world and  i s the sense that the reader has t h a t West* s  i s l o g i c a l and complete and y e t t h a t i t i s f a n t a s t i c  u n r e a l i s t i c which l i e s a t the heart of the q u e s t i o n :  i s West a n o v e l i s t or a s a t i r i s t ?  To answer t h i s  question,  i t w i l l be u s e f u l t o adopt Sheldon Sacks! d e f i n i t i o n s o f s a t i r e , applogue, and a c t i o n o r n o v e l .  As w i l l be seen,  h i s d e f i n i t i o n s a r e u s e f u l and g e n e r a l l y a p p l i c a b l e d e s p i t e the f a c t that they do n o t enable us t o c l a s s i f y West a s either a satirist  or a n o v e l i s t .  Sacks d e f i n e s the d i f f e r e n t  k i n d s of l i t e r a t u r e by t h e i r " o r g a n i z i n g p r i n c i p l e s " : A s a t i r e i s a work o r g a n i z e d so t h a t i t r i d i c u l e s o b j e c t s e x t e r n a l t o t h e f i c t i o n a l w o r l d created i n i t . An apologue i s a work organized as a f i c t i o n a l example o f the t r u t h of a formulable statement o r a s e r i e s o f such statements. An a c t i o n (noveij i s a work organized so t h a t i t i n t r o d u c e s c h a r a c t e r s , about whose f a t e s we are made to care, i n unstable r e l a t i o n s h i p s which are then f u r t h e r complicated u n t i l t h e c o m p l i c a t i o n i s f i n a l l y r e s o l v e d by the removal o f t h e represented i n s t a b i l i t y . l Leaving  a s i d e the n o t i o n o f apologue f o r a moment, i t i s  true t h a t " S a t i r e s are works which r i d i c u l e p a r t i c u l a r men, the i n s t i t u t i o n s o f men, t r a i t s presumed to be i n a l l men, or any combination o f the t h r e e , " i n "a coherent it  satire  contains—the  2  and f u r t h e r that  . . . a l l the elements of the f i c t i o n  t r a i t s a s c r i b e d t o the c r e a t e d  the a c t i o n s p o r t r a y e d , tale i s t o l d — w i l l  characters,  the p o i n t o f view from which the  be s e l e c t e d . . . to maximize the  r i d i c u l e of some combination o f t h e three o b j e c t s o f s a t i r e . "  3  96  I t i s a l s o true that  i n n o v e l s we are i n t r o d u c e d to  c h a r a c t e r s about which we come t o care, and to a s t r u c t u r e which u l t i m a t e l y removes the causes o f i n s t a b i l i t y o r resolves the i n s t a b i l i t y . Ronald Paulson suggests a s i m i l a r d i s t i n c t i o n i n The F i c t i o n o f S a t i r e when he says t h a t s a t i r e s a r e concerned 4 with m i d d l e s , not beginnings o r endings.  Paulson expands  on t h i s i n S a t i r e and the Novel when he says that "In literature satire  i s the genre most p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h the  moment of a c t i o n r a t h e r than with the d e v e l o p i n g p e r s o n a l i t y of the agent; i t i s l e g a l i s t i c wholly unconcerned  . . . and almost  with the c u l p r i t ' s p a s t . "  and Paulson r e c o g n i z e that judges.  to a f a u l t  Both  5  Sacks  s a t i r e does n o t e x p l a i n , o n l y  T h e r e f o r e , i t does not develop i t s c h a r a c t e r s ;  r a t h e r , i t uses them to comment on everyday l i f e . n o v e l d e a l s w i t h causes and motives, whereas  The  the s a t i r e  p r e s e n t s o n l y p i c t u r e s o f a c t s themselves.. While I fee& t h a t Sacks' d i s t i n c t i o n between n o v e l s and  s a t i r e s i s b a s i c a l l y sound, h i s n o t i o n o f apologue  is less satisfactory.  An apologue  o f some t r u t h , a c c o r d i n g to Sacks. and n o v e l s , f o r t h a t m a t t e r a l l i n the same terms.  is a fictional Surely a l l  literature,  example  satires  can be d e s c r i b e d  (In f a c t , Sacks argues s t r o n g l y a g a i n s t  studying a l l works i n terms of thernes.f  But the concept  97  becomes more complex when we why  d i s c o v e r that "There i s no  the w r i t e r of an apologue may  s a t i r i s t an i n t e n t i o n to r i d i c u l e Sacks i m p l i e s ,  not f u l l y share w i t h the 7 . . . ."  The  difference,  i s t h a t " U n l i k e the w r i t e r o f s a t i r e ,  w r i t e r o f an apologue i s c a l l e d upon to r e v e a l by e x p l a i n why  w r i t e r s o f prose f i c t i o n whose primary  intention i s  to r i d i c u l e n e v e r t h e l e s s choose to embody t h e i r 8  the  fictional  example h i s p o s i t i v e b e l i e f s — w h i c h may  i n apologue r a t h e r than s a t i r e . "  reason  many  intention  S a t i r e , on the o t h e r hand,  i s l i m i t e d to "the n e g a t i v e p a t t e r n i m p l i c i t  i n the  Q  s e l e c t i o n o f external objects.' understanding  1  The  difficulty  of  j u s t what an apologue i s a r i s e s when we  at Sacks' examples: In the l a t t e r two  R a s s e l a s , Jonathan  W i l d and  look  Candide.  the p o s i t i v e v a l u e s are o n l y i m p l i c i t at  b e s t ; f u r t h e r , Johnson's R a s s e l a s i s , i n other ways, as w e l l , completely;; d i f f e r e n t  from them.  The o n l y  similarity  amongst t h i s group o f works i s t h a t they do not f i t into the d e f i n i t i o n s of s a t i r e and  :,novel e a s i l y .  and Can-Aide are c l e a r l y s a t i r e s , although of kinds, while Rasselas i s c l e a r l y While  Jonathan different  some k i n d of n o v e l .  I suspect Sacks might c o n s i d e r at l e a s t  L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day  of the Locust as  Wild  apologues,  1 0  Miss 11  because they n e i t h e r i n t e r e s t us i n the c h a r a c t e r s and r e s o l v e t h e i r c o n f l i c t s , nor r i d i c u l e d i r e c t l y the world external  to the f i c t i o n a l world, I cannot accept  the  98  suggestion  that they are e i t h e r organized  to present  example o f a t r u t h (any more than a good n o v e l or that  satire,  i s ) o r that West p r e s e n t s any p o s i t i v e b e l i e f s i n h i s  work.  The most notable  f e a t u r e of h i s work i s the absence  o f a n y t h i n g more p o s i t i v e than h i s w r i t i n g good  and  v a l u a b l e records of h i s v i s i o n o f the h o r r i b l e and s t r u g g l e man  faces i n l i f e .  futile  In f a c t , u s i n g Sacks'  d e f i n i t i o n s , West's work i s n e i t h e r apologue, n o v e l , satire,  but some combination of the t h r e e .  c o n s i d e r West o n l y i n terms o f s a t i r e and n o v e l . d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t West does not o f n o v e l and  satire, I will  continue  We structure.  to r e f e r to h i s reflect  opinion.  imagery c r e a t e s both the f i c t i o n a l  the c h a r a c t e r s ahd  completely  And,  have a l r e a d y examined West's.,imagery and The  divided.  I will  f i t Sacks' d e f i n i t i o n s  d e f i n i t i o n s because they a r e b a s i c a l l y sound and a c o n s i d e r a b l e consensus of c r i t i c a l  nor  But because I  c o n s i d e r the n o t i o n o f apologue extremely suspect,  and  an  shows the reader  plot world  that both are  West's grotesque q u a l i t y a r i s e s  from h i s i s o l a t i o n o f o r d i n a r y d e t a i l s or the f u s i o n o f dissimilar qualities.  The  p l o t supports  s t r u c t u r e s the events so that the reader s h i p s w i t h i n , and  the imagery and can see  the  relation-  the consequences of, the d i v i d e d world.  99  The  t e s t I propose, i n order  to decide whether West  i s a s a t i r i s t o r not, i s to determine how West uses h i s c r e a t e d world and why he c r e a t e s a d i v i d e d one. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , s a t i r e s ha%e been w r i t t e n "to expose, or d e r i d e , o r condemn." A frequent  method has been to c r e a t e  some k i n d o f f a n t a s y  world and show t h a t the f a n t a s t i c c l o s e l y m t r r o r s everyday reality  ( f o r example, G u l l i v e r ' s T r a v e l s ) .  fictional  Often the  world i s exaggerated so much that a t l e a s t a  p a r t o f i t becomes grotesque i n t h a t the d i s t o r t e d f a n t a s y i s both humorous and h o r r i b l e . s t r u c t u r e d so a s to attack  A l s o , most s a t i r e s are  s p e c i f i c t a r g e t s i n the  e x t e r n a l world throughout t h e i r p r o g r e s s . p a r t i c u l a r s a t i r e may be c o n s t r u c t e d , f o l l y , and v i c e .  And the b e s t  No matter how a  i t exposes pretence,  s a t i r e s tend to use the  p a r t i c u l a r t a r g e t s as examples o f l a r g e r or more concerns which demonstrate that  the f i c t i o n a l  significant  world i s  completely deranged and, due t o t h e c l o s e l i n k s with the e x t e r n a l world,  that the r e a l world  i s a l s o , by i m p l i c a t i o n ,  deranged. In West's work, the i n c i d e n t a l r i d i c u l e i s minimal. A l t h o u g h he comments on such t h i n g s as mechanical Hollywood i l l u s i o n s , a r t i s t i c p r e t e n s i o n s , are not ends i n themselves.  Superficially,  religions,  these t a r g e t s at l e a s t ,  we can say t h a t where S w i f t , f o r example, might  consider  12  100  mechanical w r i t i n g e v i l  in itself,  and i n d i c a t i v e o f the  whole o f Grub S t r e e t and, u l t i m a t e l y , of modern s o c i e t y , West does not r i d i c u l e p a r t i c u l a r s f o r t h e i r own His  mockery of r e l i g i o n s , f o r example,  sake.  i s s u b o r d i n a t e d to  a l a r g e r p u r p o s e — a comment on the nature of l i f e  itself.  1 3  A l s o , h i s compassion f o r and u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the need for  dreams and i l l u s i o n s i s always e v i d e n t .  Yet, w h i l e he  understands the needs, he i s b a s i c a l l y concerned t o demonstrate that h i s c h a r a c t e r s and h i s r e a d e r s are deluded. of  the L o c u s t , f o r example,  the  dream f a c t o r y .  The  Day  i s one l o n g expose' o f Hollywood,  I t i s exposed to our view, but West's  h a n d l i n g of Hollywood, through the use o f h i s d i v i d e d  images,  shows us that the performers and c h e a t e r s i n Hollywood are  themselves deluded and trapped by t h e i r own  dreams.  T h e r e f o r e , we do not blame Hollywood f o r i t s c r e a t i o n of false, dreams, nor do we blame the s t a r - w o r s h i p p e r s * we lament l i f e life  or perhaps modern l i f e .  Instead,  In terms o f s a t i r e ,  i s too g e n e r a l a t a r g e t to be m e a n i n g f u l . Yet. l i f e i s  West's t a r g e t .  1 4  Not o n l y does West's work evidence l i t t l e  incidental  s a t i r e , i t a l s o l a c k s t o p i c a l i t y except i n t h e most general sense.  West, u n l i k e  Pope or S w i f t , does not appear to.be  r i d i c u l i n g p a r t i c u l a r men  or p a r t i c u l a r events.  With the  e x c e p t i o n o f A Cool M i l l i o n , we can understand West's  101  comments on l i f e world.  solely  i n terms of the c r e a t e d f i c t i o n a l  That i s , we do not need to know, nor does i t h e l p  us to know, West'si biography, dates, p o l i t i c a l b e l i e f s , or to be aware o f the a c t u a l events of the 1930's i n America in d e t a i l .  I t i s enough to be aware that the f i c t i o n a l  events i n West are p o s s i b l e , not that  they exaggerate o r  e x a c t l y record r e a l events.  i s that  The f a c t  the c h a r a c t e r s  and events i n West's work become i n t e g r a l p a r t s o f the fictional incidental  world, and a r e n o t i n c l u d e d so as t o p r o v i d e and s p e c i f i c  topical  s a t i r i c l i n k s with the  external, real world. In The Day of the L o c u s t , West c r e a t e s a u n i f i e d f i c t i o n a l world, i n the sense that i t i s l o g i c a l and coherent i n i t s e l f , and d e s t r o y s i t a t the end o f t h e book. Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , he c r e a t e s a u n i f i e d  In  c h a r a c t e r and  d e s t r o y s that c h a r a c t e r .  Although he destroys f i c t i o n a l  creations,  c o n t i n u e s and so do the r e a l  the r e a l world  problems posed i n s i d e the f i c t i o n a l world. a r e a l i s t i c f i c t i o n a l world d i f f e r e n t  By c r e a t i n g  from the everyday world  o n l y i n i t s m u l t i p l i c i t y of e x p l i c i t d i v i s i o n s , expose to r i d i c u l e p a r t i c u l a r  he does not  e v i i l s i n the e x t e r n a l world.  By d e s t r o y i n g the f i c t i o n a l world he i m p l i c i t l y  attempts  to d e s t r o y the i l l u s i o n s of the everyday world.  This i s  his  satire.!5  He does not a t t a c k authors, p r i e s t s ,  cynics,  screen w r i t e r s , a c t o r s , actresses, p o l i t i c i a n s , whoremongers,  102  and f o o l s as such. of the  F o r West, h i s c h a r a c t e r s are o n l y symptoms  the s i c k n e s s o f l i f e  itself.  To a t t a c k the dreamers o r  dream-makers would be p o i n t l e s s , u n j u s t , and c a l l o u s .  West's compassion f o r man and h i s needs makes i t impossible for  him t o r i d i c u l e  the r e s u l t s o f those needs.  A t the  v e r y b e g i n n i n g o f The Day?of t h e L o c u s t , we a r e t o l d "It  that  i s hard tp laugh a t the need f o r beauty and romance  no m a t t e r how t a s t e l e s s , even h o r r i b l e , need a r e .  But i t i s easy t o s i g h *  the r e s u l t s o f that  Few t h i n g s are sadder  than the t r u l y monstrous" (DL, 262).  However, d e s p i t e  West's compassion which l i m i t s h i s r i d i c u l e , West does expose i l l u s i o n s and f o r c e us t o see the " t r u l y monstrous". West's f i c t i o n a l world i s " t r u l y monstrous". I t s monstrousness d e r i v e s not from f a n t a s y , but from q u a l i t i e s o f people and t h i n g s from t h e i r n a t u r a l  isolating associations,  from examining the p a r t i n d e t a i l separate from i t s normal r e l a t i o n s h i p s , from f o c u s i n g on the need f o r i l l u s i o n and dreams and r e c o g n i z i n g the h o r r i b l e consequences o f t h a t need. In  fact,  i f West's images were not d i v i d e d , i t might be  s u f f i c i e n t t o say t h a t West's f i c t i o n a l world i s monstrous because he has c o n s c i o u s l y created i n l i t e r a r y form an exact i m i t a t i o n o f the r e a l world as he p e r c e i v e d i t . That i s t o say, that he placed i n s i d e h i s work people as  s t e r i l e , l i v i n g l i v e s a s f u t i l e , as those whom he saw  In  r e a l l i f e , thus f o r c i n g us t o see the monstrousness  of  life.  However, West 8  oes  > fwth.e.r, §nd. exposes the nature  1G3  of yet  l i f e by c r e a t i n g an i m a g i s t i c a l l y d i v i d e d , coherent, f i c t i o n a l world i n which man  seek o r d e r and meaning, attempt  must a c t , dream,  to a l l e v i a t e  and, at the same time, be doomed to  absurd,  suffering  failure:  Man has a t r o p i s m f o r o r d e r . Keys i n one pocket, change i n another, Mandolins a r e tuned G D A E . The p h y s i c a l world has a tropism f o r d i s o r d e r , e n t r o p y . Man a g a i n s t Nature . . . the b a t t l e of t h e c e n t u r i e s . Keys yearn t o mix w i t h change. Mandolins s t r i v e to get out of tune. E v e r y o r d e r has w i t h i n i t the germ of d e s t r u c t i o n . A l l order i s doomed, yet the b a t t l e i s worth w h i l e . (ML, 104) West's c h a r a c t e r s a r e not t r a g i c , however, because there i s n o t h i n g noble i n mere s u r v i v a l . of  The c o n t i n u a l  ironies  t h e p l o t s , the s u c c e s s i o n of f r u s t r a t i o n s , and  s u r f a c e q u a l i t y of the so that we imagery  the  images moves us away from t h e c h a r a c t e r s  see t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s c l e a r l y .  Because the  c o n s t a n t l y reminds us o f the d i s s o c i a t i o n of mind  and body, and i m p l i c i t l y a s s e r t s the dominance o f the body over the s p i r i t , the c h a r a c t e r s a r e seen to be a n i m a l - l i k e , not g o d - l i k e . but t h i s  For West, man  i s a f a c t o f l i f e and  thus man  although h i s f a t e i s lamentable. explicitly  i s an  basically animal,  i s not c u l p a b l e ,  This p o s i t i o n  i s developed  i n The Dream L i f e of Balso S n e l l when one  of  the c h a r a c t e r s w r i t e s : T e r r i b l e indeed was the c o m p e t i t i o n i n which h i s h e a r e r s spent t h e i r l i v e s ; a c o m p e t i t i o n that demanded t h e i r feeing more than a n i m a l s . He r a i s e d h i s hand as though to b l e s s them,. . . "Yet, ah y e t , are'you expected t o compete wiith Gfhrist whose f a t h e r i s God, with D i o n y s i u s whose f a t h e r i s God; you who were Janey Davenport, o r one conceived i n an offhand manner on a r a i n y a f t e r n o o n . " (BS, 55-56)  104  True to form, however, West undercuts t h e speech:  "After  b u i l d i n g up h i s t e a r - j e r k e r r o u t i n e f o r a r e p e a t , he blacked out and went i n t o h i s j u g g l i n g f o r the c u r t a i n " (BS,  5 6 ) . Here, as i n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day o f the  Locust, West l i m i t s h i s e x p r e s s i o n o f compassion by e x p r e s s i n g h i s compassion through an i r o n i c c h a r a c t e r or s i t u a t i o n . L i k e a l l s a t i r i s t s , West's i n t e n t i o n i s to expose piretence and i l l u s i o n .  U n l i k e most s a t i r i s t s , however, West  does n o t c o n t r a s t h i s " u n l l l u s i o n e d p e r c e p t i o n o f man as he  i s , and h i s i d e a l p e r c e p t i o n , or v i s i o n , o f man as he ought  to b e . " ^ 1  West r e s t r i c t s h i m s e l f t o h i s p e r c e p t i o n of what  i s and our p e r c e p t i o n o f what i s .  There i s no "ought".  The  s a t i r e comes from the reader's awareness t h a t the d e s t r u c t i o n o f the c r e a t e d f i c t i o n a l w o r l d  i s necessary  and j u s t . "The  reader must r e j e c t the f i c t i o n a l world because i t denies man's s p i r i t u a l a s p i r a t i o n s .  And, t o the extent  reader sees the q u a l i t i e s of the f i c t i o n a l world  that the i n the  r e a l w o r l d , he must r e j e c t the r e a l w o r l d , o r a t l e a s t have a new, c l e a r e r p e r c e p t i o n o f i t . In terms o f the u s u a l d e f i n i t i o n s of s a t i r e and h o v e l , West i s n e i t h e r a n o v e l i s t nor a s a t i r i s t .  However, when  we examine West's images, h i s f i c t i o n a l world  and i t s  s t r u c t u r e , h i s use o f p l o t t i n g , and h i s i n t e n t i o n , i t i s c l e a r t h a t West i s a s a t i r i s t working w i t h i n the conventions of the n o v e l .  H i s p e c u l i a r i t y does not ]ie merely i n the  105  f a c t that h i s f i c t i o n a l world i s n o v e l i s t i c , nor t h a t i t develops as a comment on a d i v i d e d world and  i t s e l f , but  i n the f a c t  t h a t he  creates  demonstrates that the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n  i t lead to i t s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n . Further,  the p e c u l i a r i t y  of the r e a d e r ' s response to t h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n i s a r e s u l t of h i s r e a l i z a t i o n  that the c o l l a p s e of the  fictional  world does not r e s o l v e the problems posed w i t h i n t h a t world, and  because West p r o v i d e s no  the reader,  satisfactory alternatives,  by i m p l i c a t i o n , i s f o r c e d to r e a l i z e  because the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n  that  the f i c t i o n a l world e x i s t 17  i n the  r e a l world, there  i s no hope.  West's e n t i r e  f i c t i o n a l world forms a., judgement o f I t s e l f and o f the world.  The  The  of t h e Locust  Day  together  and  real  n o v e l i s t i c elements of M i s s Lonelyhearts'and are  sufficient  to h o l d each work  demonstrate the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p of i t s  c h a r a c t e r s ; and  the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s s u f f i c i e n t  m a i n t a i n our  i n t e r e s t i n the problems faced by the  characters.  U l t i m a t e l y , however, the  to  !  works e x i s t to  present  an image of the monstrous consequences of man's need f o r dreams, beauty and absurd and had  romance.  Because West saw  compassion f o r h i s reader,  life  there  blame i n h i s s a t i r e , only an anguished s i g h .  as  i s no'  CHAPTER V  THE MEASURE OF WEST'S ACHIEVEMENT  What I have t r i e d t o demonstrate i s the nature of West's s a t i r e .  in this  thesis  I t should be noted,  however, that West i s not alone i n h i s use of a coherent n o v e l i s t i c f i c t i o n a l world to comment s a t i r i c a l l y  upon  the everyday w o r l d .  World),  Huxley  ( A n t i c Hay,  Brave New  Waugh ( V i l e B o d i e s ) , Vonnegut (Cat's C r a d l e ) , Orwell (Animal Farm), H e l l e r (Catch-22), and G o l d i n g (Lord of the F l i e s ) , among o t h e r s , have w r i t t e n s a t i r e s i n novel That i s , they too, l i k e West, c r e a t e more o r l e s s  form.  coherent  f i c t i o n a l worlds and p l a c e those worlds b e s i d e the everyday world i n order t o comment i m p l i c i t l y  or e x p l i c i t l y upon  the everyday world. The novel seems to have been a n a t u r a l f o r these w r i t e r s .  Perhaps t h i s  vehicle  i s a consequence o f the  n o v e l ' s c l a i m to present a " t r u e " p i c t u r e o f l i f e and i t s h i s t o r i c a l use of other n o n - f i c t i o n forms such as the l e t t e r , d i a r y , essay, h i s t o r y , and biography. it  Or  perhaps  i s a r e s u l t o f the common concern of both novels and  107  s a t i r e s w i t h s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s and problems.  Whatever the  reason, I b e l i e v e that s a t i r i s t s have taken the novel used some of i t s conventions, and s a t i r e which must be judged  ereated a new  by the  to s a t i r e r a t h e r than to the n o v e l . adaptation i s s i m i l a r  form,  kind of  c r i t e r i a applicable I t h i n k that  this  to the eighteenth-century s a t i r i s t s '  use o f the e p i c and h e r o i c forms.  They, l i k e modern  s a t i r i s t s , adopted an e n t i r e form and used i t f o r another purpose.  While Pope and Dryden, f o r example, make the  different  purpose more than obvious, modern s a t i r i s t s  have been much more s u b t l e .  We  sometimes f a i l t o recognize  the dominant s a t i r i c purpose i n Brave New  World and  Vile  Bodies because the s a t i r e i s not so c l e a r l y p e r s o n a l particular  as i t o f t e n i s i n the e a r l i e r works  because of t h i s , we  and  and,  sometimes e v a l u a t e these works u s i n g  c r i t e r i a a p p l i c a b l e to n o v e l s . S i n c e the e i g h t e e n t h century, the tone o f has  changed.  In the n o v e l i s t i c  satires  century p e r s o n a l a t t a c k i s reduced  of the  satire twentieth  to a minimum and  a  r e a d e r need not be aware of the r e a l - w o r l d examples which are used w i t h i n the f i c t i o n a l world to understand enjoy the s a t i r e . humor to accentuate  Although  and  H e l l e r i n Gatch-22 uses  the h o r r o r o f h i s c r e a t e d world,  other  w r i t e r s such as Huxley and Waugh Use a s u b t l e r humor based on i r o n i e s o f the p l o t  and  the s e r i o u s  treatment  108  of the absurd.  West,  i n my  o p i n i o n , i s the  extreme of humorless s a t i r e . Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and i n an unfunny c o n t e x t . jokes and  furthest  While there are jokes i n  The Day o f the Locust, they are  developed  The r e a d e r i s not amused by the  i s , i n f a c t , o f t e n p r o f o u n d l y d i s t u r b e d by  the  ironies. The r e s u l t o f t h i s k i n d o f s u b t l e humor i s two Because we  do not  the s a t i r e .  1  laugh at the j o k e s , we do not e n t e r  And,  because there are unfunny jokes  out each n o v e l i s t i c s a t i r e , we the f i c t i o n a l world or w i t h an o r d i n a r y n o v e l .  evveryday world and  into  through-  do not become i n v o l v e d i n  the c h a r a c t e r s as we would i n  Although  i s mundane, ordinary, and,  fold.  the f i c t i o n a l world  relatively  similar  itself  to the  i s created by means of r e a l i s t i c  images,  the r e a d e r i s not drawn i n t o the world because the p l o t , which u n i t e s the images and  demonstrates the  inter-  r e l a t i o n s h i p s between c h a r a c t e r s and events, undercuts s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the events w i t h i n the f i c t i o n a l thereby  the  world,  s e p a r a t i n g or d i s t a n c i n g the reader from the  f i c t i o n a l world and represented One w.hich use  f o r c i n g him to examine the  in that world of the p i t f a l l s  values  by the v a r i o u s characters... f o r c r i t i c s of modern s a t i r e s  the n o v e l form i s t h a t the w r i t e r s have c r e a t e d  c h a r a c t e r s which e x h i b i t , s u p e r f i c i a l l y , p s y c h o l o g i c a l realism.  On the s u r f a c e at l e a s t ,  i t seems reasonable  to  109  t a l k about the c h a r a c t e r s i n Brave New World,  f o r example,  as c h a r a c t e r s or people r a t h e r than as d e v i c e s .  We would  not, however, t r y to analyze G u l l i v e r ' s motives i n any depth. (I  trust  t h a t avenue o f c r i t i c i s m has come to i t s proper  dead-end.)  The f a c t i s , though,  that the c h a r a c t e r s i n  Huxley, Waugh, and West a r e d e v i c e s , d e s p i t e t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r i z a t i o n and m o t i v a t i o n , c r e a t e d to form an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f the f i c t i o n a l world w i t h i n which they e x i s t and that  that world i s c r e a t e d t o comment upon the  e x t e r n a l , everyday world. fictional.world  Because the f u n c t i o n of the  i s t o comment upon the e x t e r n a l world,  the c h a r a c t e r s w i t h i n the c r e a t e d world cannot be taken • seriously,  although the problems which they f a c e i n i t and  the v a l u e s which they r e p r e s e n t must be taken %en satires  we r e c o g n i z e that the tone  i s different  of modern n o v e l i s t i c  from e a r l i e r s a t i r e s , we can see  that t h i s change i s r e f l e c t e d  i n the use ..of the n o v e l form.  Because s a t i r e does n o t have t o be l i n k e d world c o n t i n u o u s l y throughout maximizing of  t o the e x t e r n a l  i t s p r o g r e s s , thereby  r i d i c u l e of p a r t i c u l a r  the n o v e l ' s seemingly  Satire  seriously,  e v i l s , i t can make use  impervious f i c t i o n a l w o r l d .  can be o r d e r e d i n i t s e l f and comment, i n i t s  entirety,  on the e x t e r n a l world.  T h i s i s not to imply that  s a t i r i s t s must choose between a e s t h e t i c a l l y  coherent  works and t o p i c a l i t y ; r a t h e r , t h a t s a t i r i s t s can now to c r e a t e e i t h e r  choose  a n o y e l i s t i c f i c t i o n a l world or any other  110  kind  d f l e s s coherent world. Along w i t h the change i n tone and form, s a t i r e i s now  o f t e n not concerned w i t h blame. are  seldom p o i n t e d  out  for attack  writers  feature and  and p a r t i c u l a r e v i l s  does n o t mean that  fingers  seldom s i n g l e d  s a t i r e i s dead, or that  l i k e West a r e not s a t i r i s t s .  I f e e l that itself.  The f a c t that  On the c o n t r a r y ,  the absence o f blame enables s a t i r e t o f u l f i l ,  Satire i s , after a l l ,  an a r t form.  I t s distinguishing  i s i t s i n t e n t to r e v e a l as i l l u s o r y the v a l u e s  appearances which we take to be good and worthy o f  praise.  The s a t i r i s t ' s f u n c t i o n i s n o t to a s s i g n  or t o p r o v i d e c o r r e c t i v e programs. s a t i r i s t creates a f i c t i o n a l perception  of society's  blame  As an a r t i s t , the  image which expresses h i s  i l l u s i o n s and which e n a b l e s . h i s  readers to see the f a u l t s o f t h e i r own moral  values.  Regardless of the s a t i r i s t ' s technique, he always  creates  a p i c t u r e and says " T h i s i s the way t h i n g s r e a l l y  are."  While other a r t forms do t h i s as w e l l , the s a t i r i s t us w i t h no r e s o l u t i o n o r s i g n o f hope w i t h i n h i s world.  leaves  created  His vision i s truly pessimistic. N o v e l i s t s l i k e Hemingway, Conrad, and Hardy a r e a l s o  pessimistic. novelistic can  The d i f f e r e n c e l i e s i n the absence,  s a t i r e s , o f worthy c h a r a c t e r s  sympathize as human beings.  within  with whom we  I n p e s s i m i s t i c n o v e l s we  may sense the f u t i l i t y of a character's  struggle  Ill  a g a i n s t h i s f a t e , but we and  sense the  a l s o see  the value of that  struggle  tragedy of each c h a r a c t e r ' s d e f e a t .  i n d i v i d u a l , although  doomed, i s noble.  The  In n o v e l i s t i c  s a t i r e s , however, the c h a r a c t e r s are not noble, nor i s t h e i r defeat t r a g i c . ignoble  The  c h a r a c t e r s are seldom l e s s  than the f o r c e s against, which they s t r u g g l e .  the emphasis i s not on i n d i v i d u a l  c h a r a c t e r s as  such;  r a t h e r , the c h a r a c t e r s are d e v i c e s used to r e v e a l nature  of the f i c t i o n a l world, and  i l l u s i o n s we value and  accept  Further,  the  by i m p l i c a t i o n , the  as r e a l and noble i n l i f e  itself. T^  novel  form has  enabled  modern s a t i r i s t s t o  express t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of r e a l i t y i n a complex and manner.  By using the conventions  a coherent  o f the n o v e l and  illusory  to widen t h e i r comment from p a r t i c u l a r  values  and  to more general  In West, f o r example, the c r e a t e d w o r l d  only s l i g h t l y d i s t o r t e d d i v i d e d imagery, and  i n a c t i o n and  i t seems to present  recognize  We  the  a relatively  watch the f i c t i o n a l world  i t s s i m i l a r i t y to the r e a l  But we do not become concerned f o r the I n s t e a d , we  is  or exaggerated as a r e s u l t of  complete range o f v a l u e s .  v a l u e s and  creating  f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , they have been a b l e to show  the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n of d i f f e r e n t  targets.  subtle  world.  characters.,.  a r e d i s t a n c e d from them and we the problems which they f a c e .  examine We  their  see that the  11E  e n t i r e c r e a t e d world  i s absurd because i t l a c k s s a t i s f a c t o r y  v a l u e s , p o s s i b l e meaningful And,  a l t e r n a t i v e s , and goodness.  when we f i n i s h r e a d i n g the s a t i r e , we compare the  f i c t i o n a l world t o the r e a l world and see o u r own e x i s t e n c e f o r what i t i s . I n Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day o f the Locust, West c r e a t e d an image which is complete i n i t s e l f t o comment i m p l i c i t l y upon the v a l u e s o f the r e a l world and t h e r e a l i s m of  t h a t image enables  us to see, and p r o h i b i t s us from  a v o i d i n g , h i s v i s i o n of l i f e .  This i s the nature  of his  s a t i r e and t h e measure o f h i s achievement. When we measure West's work a g a i n s t other n o v e l i s t i c s a t i r e s , we can r e c o g n i z e h i s b r i l l i a n c e .  The attempt to  use the novel f o r s a t i r i c purposes i s by no means a r e c e n t phenomenon.  There are many n o v e l i s t i c elements i n S w i f t ' s  G u l l i v e r ' s T r a v e l s , f o r example. satiric. suggests with  F i e l d i n g , too, i s often  S m o l l e t t , i n h i s " P r e f a c e " to Roderick Random, something o f the value o f combining the n o v e l  satire:  Of a l l k i n d s of s a t i r e , there i s none so e n t e r t a i n i n g and u n i v e r s a l l y improving as that w h i c h i s i n t r o d u c e d , as i t were, o c c a s i o n a l l y , i n the course o f a n i n t e r e s t i n g s t o r y , which b r i n g s every i n c i d e n t home to l i f e , and, by r e p r e s e n t i n g f a m i l i a r scenes i n an uncommon and amusing p o i n t of view, i n v e s t s them w i t h a l l the graces of n o v e l t y , while nature i s appealed t o i n every p a r t i c u l a r . 4  113  S m o l l e t t a l s o c l a i m s that he made Roderick  l i k e a b l e so t h a t  the reader would be more i n d i g n a n t about the wrongs done to  him.  F u r t h e r , S m o l l e t t says t h a t "Every  reader w i l l , from nature although to  the  device.  s i g h t , p e r c e i v e I have not  circumstances satire."  are a l t e r e d and The  0  character  At  through h i s imagery and  plotting  f o r us t o become concerned about  their  the same time, however, I think West t r i e d  to c r e a t e a f i c t i o n a l world And,  as  Roderick  West, on the o t h e r hand, always uses h i s  makes i t impossible  facts.  disguised,  c e n t r a l problem of  i n t h i s s p l i t between Roderick  c h a r a c t e r s as d e v i c e s , and  well-being.  deviated  i n the f a c t s , which are a l l true i n the main,  avoid personal  Random l i e s and  at f i r s t  diligent  composed of reasonable,  because West's world  realistic  i s so r e a l i s t i c , and  the  images which c r e a t e the c h a r a c t e r s d i s t i l so . w e l l the essence of t h e i r being, we them as c h a r a c t e r s . and  The  Day  When we  f i n i s h reading M i s s  created, we  r e t a i n the h o r r i f i c  the  total such  images. a doubt, i s among the most  successful n o v e l i s t i c s a t i r i s t s . c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and  see  taking  Lonelyhearts  f o r g e t the c h a r a c t e r s as  I t h i n k West, without  see  times f o o l e d i n t o  o f the Locust, however, and  images West has and  are a t  H i s s u b o r d i n a t i o n of  p l o t to imagery f o r c e s the reader  the " r e a l i t y o f r e a l i t y " .  6  And,  at the  to  same time that  114  the l i m i t e d c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and c o n t i n u a l i r o n i e s o f t h e p l o t f o r c e us away from the f i c t i o n a l world, these n o v e l i s t i c elements enable us t o see the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s of the i l l u s i o n s and d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n the f i c t i o n a l world. w h i l e I c o n s i d e r West's powers as a n o v e l i s t it  Thus,  to be g r e a t ,  i s h i s imagery which forms the b a s i s o f h i s a r t i s t i c  achievement,  a n d narks him as a f i r s t - r a t e  P h i l i p Pinkus has noted satiric  imagery  throughout  three main k i n d s : r i g i d , mechanical animal mad."  9  satirist.  the amazing s i m i l a r i t y of  the ages.  He suggests there a r e  "man becomes a machine . . . he i s 7 . . . he i s a r o b o t " ,  "man becomes an  . . . a c r e a t u r e of bowels and d i s e a s e " ,  "man becomes  As we have seen, West's images c o u l d be f i t t e d  these c a t e g o r i e s .  into  In West, however, man i s not j u s t  mechanical, o r b e s t i a l , or mad* but a l l t h r e e ; the c o n f l i c t between mechanical deadness and b e s t i a l d e s i r e s l e a d s , inescapably, to madness. In Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s a n d The Day o f the L o c u s t West succeeded illusions.  i n c r e a t i n g u n f o r g e t t a b l e images which expose o u r A C o o l M i l l i o n , however, s u f f e r s from a more  n o t i c e a b l e l a c k of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and p l o t than the other n o v e l s .  complexity  The absence o f these n o v e l i s t i c  f e a t u r e s f o r c e s t h e burden of the book s o l e l y upon the images, but i n A Cool M i l l i o n they a r e i n s u f f i c i e n t l y v a r i e d  to s u s t a i n  115  our i n t e r e s t  i n the humorless,  although c r u s h i n g l y  d i s m a n t l i n g of Lemuel P i t k i n .  ironic,  The Dream L i f e o f Balso S n e l l  a l s o l a c k s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and p l o t , but here the images are to  too v a r i e d and the i r o n i e s too complex f o r the r e a d e r understand the work as a whole.  imagery  West's b r i l l i a n t  i s not c o n t r o l l e d , and h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  shifts  from that necessary i n novels to that r e q u i r e d f o r s a t i r e without e x p l a n a t i o n .  We are l e f t w i t h a b r i l l i a n t  sequence of images which n e v e r  do- fuse i n t o one  image,  and a number of e x c e l l e n t i r o n i e s which never form But out of B a l s o S n e l l comes  a plot.  the superb imagery of Miss  L o n e l y h e a r t s and The Day of the L o c u s t . In  h i s imagery, West d i s t i l l e d h i s v i s i o n of  But f o r the d i v i d e d imagery which c r e a t e s the  life.  divided  c h a r a c t e r s and f i c t i o n a l world and p o r t r a y s i t s c a p a c i t y for of  s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n , West's work would be s i m i l a r t o that w r i t e r s - who  life to  treat l i f e  as absurd.  as absurd, but he a l s o saw  I think  l i v e without some beauty, romance, and dream o f  revenge.  the needs o f men,  purpose—  seek  And, w i t h i n West's f i c t i o n a l world, those  understand  saw  that people were unable  cheated o f t h a t dream they seethe with rage and  are  West  Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s and  who Tod,  h e l p l e s s and f o r c e d out of the world by death or madness. Josephine Herbst, a p e r s o n a l f r i e n d of West's, has  s a i d of  him:  116  T h i s sad m o r a l i s t was by i n t e n t i o n a s a t i r i s t , but he o f f e r s no p o s i t i v e i d e a ; i f h i s novels s i g n a l "beware," they present no p r o s p e c t e i t h e r w i t h i n the s e l f o r i n the world beyond an e n g u l f i n g moment . . . . He shared a Dostoevskian compassion which prevented him from c r e a t i n g any."actual v i l l a i n s i n h i s v i s i o n o f a world r u l e d by the v i l l a i n y of the l i t t l e . 10 Out satiric  of t h i s mixture  of compassion and r u t h l e s s  judgement West c r e a t e d images which cannot be  forgotten.  Indeed, t h e r e i s , as West wrote,  a.place f o r the f e l l o w who y e l l s f i r e and i n d i c a t e s where some of the smoke i s coming from without a c t u a l l y dragging the hose to the spot . . . . 11  FOOTNOTES  Chapter I  1 See T.G. Wilson, "American Humor," Saturday Review o f L i t e r a t u r e , TJC (May 1933), 589y f o r a p e r c e p t i v e and a p p r e c i a t i v e review which t r e a t s Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s as a "robust satire".. 2 F o r a f a v o u r a b l e review see Edmund Wilson, "Hollywood Dance of Death," The New R e p u b l i c , LXXXXIX ( J u l y 1936), 339-340. Wilson says t h a t W e s t i s t h e f i r s t w r i t e r to make the emptiness o f Hollywood h o r r i b l e . :  3 T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n i s drawn from S t a n l e y Edgar Hyman, Nathanael West, U n i v e r s i t y o f Minnesota Pamphlets on American W r i t e r s , No. 21 (Minneapolis, 1962); James F. L i g h t , Nathanael West: An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Study (Evanston, I l l i n o i s , 1961); and W i l l i a m White, "How F o r g o t t e n Was Nathanael West," American Book C o l l e c t o r . T i l l , 4 (1957), 13-17. 4 Light.  See f o o t n o t e 3 above.  5 V i c t o r Comerchero, Nathanael West: (Syracuse, 1964).  The I r o n i c Prophet  6 R a n d a l l R e i d , The F i c t i o n o f Nathanael West:. No Redeemer, No Promised Land (Chicago, 1967). 7 See L i g h t , Nathanael West: An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Study, p. 9 and p. 109. A l s o James F. L i g h t , "Nathanael West and the Ravaging L o c u s t , " American Q u a r t e r l y , X I I ( S p r i n g 1960), 45-46.  118  8  Thomas Gilmore, a l o n g with W V H . Auden and A.M. T i b b e t t s , argues , that The Day of the L o c u s t i s not a s a t i r e . I hope t h i s study w i l l counter h i s argument by c l a r i f y i n g j u s t how West's s a t i r e works. Thomas Gilmore, ''The Dark N i g h t of the Cave: A R e j o i n d e r to Kernan on The Day o f the L o c u s t , " S a t i r e Newsletter ( S p r i n g 1 9 6 5 ) , 9 5 - 1 0 0 . 9  P h i l i p Pinkus, " S a t i r e and S t . George," Queen's Q u a r t e r l y , (Spring 1 9 6 3 ) , 3 0 - 4 9 .  LXX 10  Pinkus, 3 5 .  H i s a r t i c l e p r o v i d e s the b a s i s o f my t h e s i s .  11  A.M. T i b b e t t s , "The Strange Half-World of Nathanael West," P r a i r i e Schooner, XXXIV ( S p r i n g 1 9 6 0 ) , 8 . IE  Tibbetts, 8 .  1 3 r-  Henry Popkin, "The Taming o f Nathanael R e p u b l i c . CXXXVII (October 1 9 5 7 ) , 1 9 .  West," The New ~~  14  W i l l i a m White, "A N o v e l i s t Ahead o f H i s Time: Nathanael West," Today*s Japan: Orient/West. VI (January 1 9 6 1 ) , 6 4 . 15  From a l e t t e r by A l l a n Seager to C y r i l Schneider, A p r i l 1 5 , 1 9 5 S , quoted by L i g h t i n Nathanael West: An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Study, p. 1 5 3 . 16  (New  R i c h a r d B. Gehman, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The Day o f the L o c u s t York: New D i r e c t i o n s , 1 9 5 0 ) , p. i x .  17  R e i d , p. 1 1 8 . 18  James F . L i g h t , "Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s : The Imagery o f Nightmare," American Q u a r t e r l y , V I I I (Winter 1 9 5 6 ) , 3 S 5 . (This i s d i s c u s s e d on p. 6 9 . ) R i c h a r d B. Gehman, "Nathanael West: A N o v e l i s t A p a r t , " The A t l a n t i c Monthly, CLXXXVI (September 1 9 5 0 ) , 6 9 - 7 S , c a l l s West a " s u p e r r e a l i s t " (69). A l s o see A l a n Donovan, "Nathanael West and the S u r r e a l i s t i c Muse," The Kentucky Review, v o l . I I , No. 1 (1968),  8S-95.  119  19  See  f o o t n o t e 13 above.  20 Comerchero, p. 7. 21  A l l f u r t h e r q u o t a t i o n s f r o m West_ i n my t e x t a r e from The^Complete Works of Nathanael West (New York: F a r r a r , S t r a u s s and Giroux, 1957). Page r e f e r e n c e s w i l l be g i v e n i n the t e x t preceded by each work's a b b r e v i a t e d title. 22 pp.  Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (New York, 1964), 24-25.  23  R a n d a l l Reid has a l s o noted t h i s s i m i l a r i t y . below p. 13.)  (See  24 Gehman suggests that West i n t e n t i o n a l l y c r e a t e d a " h a l f - w o r l d " f o r s a t i r i c purposes. R i c h a r d B. Gehman, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The Day of the Locust (New York: New D i r e c t i o n s , 1950), p . xx.  Chapter I I  1 R e i d , p. 161. 2 Comerchero, p. 161. 3 L i g h t , p. 54. "Wherever one looks i n the world of West, there i s some k i n d o f c o n f l i c t , i r r e c o n c i l a b l e , insoluble, horrible." 4 R e i d , p. 140. 5 Reid, pp. 140-141.  120  6  See Marc L. Ratner, "'Anywhere Out o f T h i s World': B a u d e l a i r e and Nathanael West,*' American L i t e r a t u r e , XXXI (January I960), 456-463 f o r p o s s i b l e s i m i l a r i t i e s between these two w r i t e r s , e s p e c i a l l y t h e i r r e j e c t i o n of dreams. 7  R a n d a l l Reid notes that w i t h i n West's world "To d i s c o v e r the f a l s e n e s s of an i l l u s i o n i s not, however, to be d e l i v e r e d from i t . I n s i g h t may o n l y i n t e n s i f y f r u s t r a t i o n . " R e i d , p. 135. •8 "The world remains d i s c o r d a n t , peopled grotesques . . . . . " Reid, p. 118.  by n a t u r a l  9 Comerchero, p. 161.  See a l s o Reid, p.  119.  10 For an e x c e l l e n t treatment of West's humor see Norman Podhoretz, "A P a r t i c u l a r Kind of J o k i n g , " New Yorker, XXXIII (May 1957), 144-153. I must admit I do not t h i n k West was, " f i r s t and l a s t a w r i t e r o f comedy" (144), but Podhoretz does go a l o n g way towards i l l u s t r a t i n g h i s c o n t e n t i o n that West's n o v e l s demonstrate that-human beings can be no more than human. What Podhoretz f a i l s to note i s the d e s t r u c t i o n I n each work which suggests t h a t being human i s not enough, even i n West's world. 11 Comerchero, p. 3. "fWestj i s not i n t e r e s t e d i n a n a l y z i n g c h a r a c t e r ; he i s i n t e r e s t e d i n c r y s t a l l i z i n g i t by u s i n g F r e u d i a n images as symbols o r o b j e c t i v e c o r r e l a t i v e s , of a p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t a t e . " F u r t h e r , " h i s unique g i f t was'his a b i l i t y to c r e a t e a semblance of c h a r a c t e r out of t r a n s f i g u r e d mental s t a t e s " p. 9. 12 Light.  See  footnote 3 above.  Chapter I I I  1 A l a n Ross, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The West, p. x i x .  Complete Works of Nathanael  121  2 V i c t o r Comerchero a l s o f e e l s that West forsook " t e n s i o n and i n t e n s i t y , " and wrote "a novel which l a c k s f o c u s , b r e v i t y , and u n i t y . " Comerehero, p. 130. In a d i s c u s s i o n of West's r e l a t i o n s h i p to h i s contemporaries and the Communist movement o f the 1930's, D a n i e l Aaron c o n s i d e r s West to be a " u n i v e r s a l s a t i r i s t " as opposed to a " s a t i r i c propagandist**' (Kenneth Burke's d i s t i n c t i o n s ) and even i n A Cool M i l l i o n "the r e a l c u l p r i t i s not C a p i t a l i s m but humanity." D a n i e l Aaron, "Late Thoughts on Nathanael West," Massachusetts Review, VI (1965), 316. :t  4 Thomas L o r c h , "The I n v e r t e d S t r u c t u r e of Balso S n e l l * S t u d i e s i n Short F i c t i o n , IV, 1 (1966), 35. ~~ ' 5 L i g h t , ''Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s : The  Imagery of Nightmare,"  326.  6 Light,  318.  Light,  321.  7 8 See a l s o Robert I . Edenbaum, "Dada and S u r r e a l i s m i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s : A L i t e r a r y Instance," A r t s i n S o c i e t y , V (1968), 114-125. (I have not seen t h i s a r t i c l e . ) 9  ie  Light,  325.  Light,  325.  11 of  West, quoted by Richard Gehman, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The the Locust (New D i r e c t i o n s , 1950), p. x.  Day  12 The  A l a n Donovan, "Nathanael West and the S u r r e a l i s t i c Muse," Kentucky Review, v o l . . I I , No. 1 (1968), 82.  122  13  Donovan, 92.  14 Donovan, 93. 15 Donovan, 94. 16  Helen B. P e t r u l l o , " S a t i r e and Freedom: Lewis, Nathanael West and James Thurber," DA, 1445a.  Sinclair 28 (1967),  17 See pages 86-87 o f Comerchero f o r E l i o t ' s and West's use o f the F i s h e r K i n g and G r a i l legends. A l s o , Edmund L. Y o l p e , "The Waste Land o f Nathanael West," Renascence: A C r i t i c a l J o u r n a l o f L e t t e r s , X I I I (Winter 1961), 69-77. (I have not seen t h i s a r t i c l e . ) 18  See L i g h t , Nathanael West: An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Study, p. 95 f o r a more thorough d i s c u s s i o n . A l s o Nancy W. Hand, "A Novel i n the Form of a Comic S t r i p l Nathanael ..West's M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s , " S e r i f . V. " 11 (1968), 14-21. (il'have not seen t h i s a r t i c l e . ) 19:: Thomas L o r c h argues that Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s demonstrates a p o s i t i v e r e l i g i o u s development, although he, at the same time, notes the simultaneous withdrawal of Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s . Rahher than b e i n g a f f i r m a t i v e , I would suggest that any p o s i t i v e elements merely accentuate the f u t i l i t y of the C h r i s t dream. Thomas L o r c h , " R e l i g i o n and A r t i n M i s s L o n e l y h e a r t s , " Renascence, XX (1967), 11-17. 20  I cannot agree w i t h A l v i n Kernan who argues t h a t "In The Day o f the L o c u s t , as i n most s a t i r e s , there i s no c o n s i s t e n t s t o r y and, t h e r e f o r e , by the u s u a l standards, no p l o t . " Kernan i s c o r r e c t i n h i s c o n t e n t i o n that the images are o f primary importance, but there i s a l s o a r e l a t i v e l y complex p l o t (as compared to A C o o l M i l l i o n , f o r example). A l v i n Kernan, The P l o t of Satire., (New Haven, 1965.), p.. 77.  123  21 For a complete m i s - r e a d i n g o f , o r d e n i a l o f , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Homer and Faye see D a n i e l Aaron, " W r i t i n g f o r Apocalypse,',' Hudson Review, I I I (1951), 636. I think Aaron has judged the work s o l e l y on t h e c r i t e r i a of the n o v e l , and thus missed the b a s i c f u n c t i o n of the p l o t t o u n i f y the images which c r e a t e a n a p o c a l y p s e . (See f o o t n o t e 20, above.) 22 See David Galloway, "Nathanael West's Dream Dump," C r i t i q u e : S t u d i e s i n Modern F i c t i o n , VI (Winter 1963), 46-63. Galloway sees Faye Greener a s "the i n c a r n a t i o n o f i l l u s i o n , " (53). He a l s o suggests that she "owes something to F i t z g e r a l d ' s D a i s y F a y Buchanan . . ." ( 6 0 ) . 23  In "Nathanael West's Holy F o o l , " Commonweal,.„ LXIV (June 1956), 276-278, A r t h u r Cohen suggests that West t r i e d to make a s a i n t (Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s ) and two f o o l s (Lemuel P i t k i n and Homer Simpson) c o n v i n c i n g heroes. A s i d e from the f a c t that Tod i s at l e a s t a s c e n t r a l t o The Day of the L o c u s t as Homer, I t h i n k i t i s a mistake to take West's c h a r a c t e r s as heroes, although i t i s t r u e that a l l o f West's c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s misapprehend the world in'which they e x i s t . (In h i s " I n t r o d u c t i o n " to The Day of the L o c u s t , Gehman a l s o contends that Homer Simpson i s the c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r . )  Chapter IV  1  Sheldon Sacks, F i c t i o n and the Sha'-pe o f B e l i e f 1964), p. 26. :  (Berkeley,  !  2 Sacks, p. 7. 3 Sacks, p. 7. 4 Ronald Paulson, The F i c t i o n s o f S a t i r e Maryland, 1967), p.. 57.  (Baltimore,  124  5  Ronald Paulson, S a t i r e and the Novel i n E i g h t e e n t h Century England (New Haven, 1967), p. 4. See a l s o p. 99. 6 Sacks, pp.  2-3.  7 Sacks, p. 49. 8 Sacks, p. 60 9 Sacks, p. 49. 10  A r n o l d K e t t l e makes a s i m i l a r d i s t i n c t i o n o f which Sacks may have been aware. K e t t l e c r e a t e s a c l a s s o f works which he c a l l s "The Moral F a b l e . " However, as w i t h Sacks, the n o t i o n Is not p a r t i c u l a r l y c l e a r and seems to be, i n f a c t , composed o f l e f t - o v e r s . The b a s i c f e a t u r e of a moral f a b l e seems t o be i t s avoidance o f complex c h a r a c t e r s and c h a r a c t e r a n a l y s i s , and i t s l a c k of e x p l o r a t i o n , as oppoto statement or exemplum, o f themes w i t h i n the work. A r n o l d K e t t l e , An I n t r o d u c t i o n to the E n g l i s h Novel, v o l . I (London, 1951), pp. 42-54. 11  F o r a v e r y b r i e f but i n t e r e s t i n g d i s c u s s i o n of West see W.H. A u d e n s " I n t e r l u d e : West's D i s e a s e , " The Dyer's Hand and Other E s s a y s (New York, 1962), pp. 238-245. Auden says t h a t "West i s n o t , s t r i c t l y speaking, a n o v e l i s t ; that i s t o say, he does not attempt an a c c u r a t e d e s c r i p t i o n n e i t h e r o f the s o c i a l scene o r o f the s u b j e c t i v e l i f e of the mind" (p. 238). "But West i s not a satirist. S a t i r e presupposes conscience and reason as the judges between the t r u e and the f a l s e , the moral and the immoral, t o which i t appeals, but f o r West t h e s e f a c u l t i e s are themselves the c r e a t o r s of u n r e a l i t y " (pp. 240-241). Auden t h i n k s that West wrote C a u t i o n a r y T a l e s . 1  12  James S u t h e r l a n d , E n g l i s h S a t i r e p. 7.  (Cambridge,  1962),  13  James N i c h o l s , "Nathanael West, S i n c l a i r Lewis, Alexander Pope, and S a t i r i c C o n t r a s t s , " S a t i r e N e w s l e t t e r , V (1968), 119-122, notes a s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i n A C o o l M i l l i o n which p a r o d i e s formsand speech, but i s not an a t t a c k on the o r i g i n a l (121).  basically  125  14 Kernan, The p l o t of S a t i r e , p. 173, notes t h a t " . . . West and Waugh . . . w i l l o n l y f i n a l l y condemn the dunces f o r t h e i r s e l f - d e f e a t i n g movements, f o r f o l l o w i n g courses o f a c t i o n that do no more than i n t e n s i f y t h e i r a l r e a d y desperate s i t u a t i o n s . " 15 A.M. T i b b e t t s sees The Dream L i f e o f B a l s o S n e l l as *a ' s a t i r e ' without an o b j e c t of a t t a c k except i t s e l f " (112). I would agree that B a l s o S n e l l c o l l a p s e s upon i t s e l f , but I would argue that t h i s forms West's s a t i r e . A.M. T i b b e t t s , "Nathanael West's The Dream L i f e o f Balso S n e l l , " Studfes i n Short F i c t i o n , I I (Winter 1965), .105-112. t  16  John M. B u l l i t t , Jonathan S w i f t S a t i r e (Cambridge, 1953), p. 1.  and.- the Anatomy o f  17 Thomas Gilmore argues t h a t West's a t t i t u d e i s not t y p i c a l o f s a t i r i s t s , that West i s i n t e r e s t e d i n a n a l y z i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r s , and that there i s no a l t e r n a t i v e to h i s bleak w o r l d . By now I hope i t i s c l e a r that West's a t t i t u d e i s compatible with s a t i r e , t h a t West does analyze c h a r a c t e r s but we cannot become i n t e r e s t e d i n them, and t h a t t h e l a c k of a l t e r n a t i v e s i s no reason t o exclude West from the ranks of s a t i r i s t s . Gilmore, "The Dark N i g h t of the Cave," S a t i r e N e w s l e t t e r , 95.  Chapter V  1  See H e n r i Bergson, pp. 195-196.  Laughter  (London,  1911),  2 See Jose' Ortega y Gasset, The Dehumanization ( P r i n c e t o n , 1968), pp. 91-95.  especially  of A r t  3 W i l l i a m B i t t n e r r e c o g n i z e s something o f West's p e c u l i a r i t y when he says "West's symbols are grotesques, perhaps more d i s t u r b i n g even than Kafka's, because they more s t r o n g l y resemble the r e a l . H i s s a t i r e never l o s e s i t s s t i n g because i t i s always more r e a l t h a n s a t i r i c a l . " B i t t n e r , "Catching Hp With Nathanae.! West,." The N a t i o n , CLXXXI-Y- (May 1957,), 394.  126  4 T o b i a s S m o l l e t t , The Adventures o f Roderick Random (The New American L i b r a r y o f Canada, 1964), p. xv. 5 S m o l l e t t ^ p. x v i i . 6 Gehman, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " p. x i . 7 P i n k u s , ' S a t i r e and S t . George," 36. 8. Pinkus, 36. 9 Pinkus, 36. 10 XXIII 11  Josephine Herbst, "Nathanael West," Kenyon Review, (Autumn 1961), 626.  West, i n a l e t t e r t o Jack Conroy, quoted by Gehman, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " p. x.  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Because a complete and exhaustive b i b l i o g r a p h i c a l studyhas been done by W i l l i a m White and p u b l i s h e d i n S t u d i e s i n B i b l i o g r a p h y , XI (1958), 207-224, and supplemented by White w i t h "Nathanael West: B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l Addenda (1957-1964)," S e r i f , I I , i (March 1965), 5-18, and " F u r t h e r B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l Notes," S e r i f , I I , i i i (Sept. 1965), 28-31, the f o l l o w i n g b i b l i o g r a p h y i s s e l e c t i v e and i n c l u d e s o n l y those items d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t to t h i s t h e s i s . Some of the more important works on n o v e l s and s a t i r e s used d i r e c t l y i n the t h e s i s are a l s o l i s t e d , although I have not t r i e d to acknowledge every w r i t e r I have r e a d . The standard t e x t o f West i s , o f course, The Complete Works of Nathanael West (New York: F a r r a r , Straus and Giroux, 1957).  Aaron, D a n i e l . "Late Thoughts on Nathanael West," Massachusetts Review, VI (Winter-Spring 1965),,307-317. ••The T r u l y Monstrous: A Note on Nathanael.. West," - P a r t i s a n Review, XIV (February 1947), 98-106. j  ~ W r i t e r s on the L e f t : E p i s o d e s i n American Communism. New. York, 1961.  Literary  •••Writing f o r Apocalypse," Hudson Review, I I I f l i n t e r 1951), 634^636. Anderson, Sherwood.  Winesburg, Ohio.  New  York,  1964.  Auden, W.H. " I n t e r l u d e : West's D i s e a s e , " i n The Dyer's Hand and Other E s s a y s . New York, 1962, pp. 238-245, B u l l i t t , John :M. Jonathan S w i f t and the Anatomy o f S a t i r e . Cambridge, Mass., 1953. Bergson, H e n r i ,  Laughter.  London,  1911.  Bittner, William. " C a t c h i n g Up With Nathanael West," The N a t i o n , CLXXXIV (May 1957), 394-96.  1 2 8  C a r l i s l e , Henry, "The Comic T r a d i t i o n , " American S c h o l a r , XXVTII ( W i n t e r , 1 9 5 8 = 1 9 5 9 ) , 9 6 = 1 0 8 . . Cohen, A r t h u r , LXIV (June  "Nathanael West's Holy F o o l , " Commonweal, 1 9 5 6 ) ,  2 7 6 - 2 7 8  0  Comerchero, Victor„ Nathanael West: Syracuse, 1 9 6 4 .  The I r o n i c Prophet.  Daniel, Carter A "West's R e v i s i o n o f Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , " S t u d i e s i n B i b l i o g r a p h y : Papers o f the B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l S o c i e t y o f the U n i v e r s i t y o f V i r g i n i a , XVI ( 1 9 6 3 ) , 6  2 3 2 = 2 4 3 c  Donovan, A l a n . "Nathanael West and the S u r r e a l i s t i c Muse," The Kentucky Review, /vol. 2 , i ( 1 9 6 8 ) , 8 2 = 9 5 , Edenbaum, Robert I , "Dada and S u r r e a l i s m i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s : A L i t e r a r y Instance," A r t s i n Society, V ( 1 9 6 8 ) , 1 1 4 = 1 2 5 ,  F i e d l e r , L e s l i e A,  W a i t i n g f o r the End.  New York, 1 9 6 4 .  Galloway, David D. "Nathanael West's Dream Dump," C r i t i q u e : S t u d i e s i n Modern F i c t i o n , VI (Winter 1 9 6 3 ) , 4 6 = 6 3 . Gehman, R i c h a r d B„ " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The Day of the L o c u s t . New York, 1 9 5 0 , "Nathanael West: A N o v e l i s t A p a r t , " The A t l a n t i c Monthly, CLXXXVI (Sept, 1 9 5 0 ) , 6 9 - 7 2 o Gilmore, Thomas B. J r . "The Dark Night o f the Cave: R e j o i n d e r t o Kernan on The Day of the Locust,", S a t i r e Newsletter, I I (Spring 1 9 6 5 ) , 9 5 - 1 0 0 .  A  Hand, Nancy W. "A Novel i n the Form o f a Comic Strip:'. Nathanael West's Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , " S e r i f , V, \i ...<•" ( 1 9 6 8 ) ,  1 4 - 2 1 .  Hassan, Ihab H, "Love i n t h e Modern American N o v e l : Expense o f S p i r i t and Waste of Shame," Western Humanities Review, XIV (Spring 1 9 6 0 ) , 1 4 9 = 1 6 1 . Herbst, J o s e p h i n e . (Autumn 1 9 6 1 ) ,  "Nathanael West," Kenyon Review, XXIII 6 1 1 - 3 0 .  129  Hyman, S t a n l e y Edgar. Nathanael West. U n i v e r s i t y o f Minnesota Pamphlets on American W r i t e r s , No. 21. M i n n e a p o l i s , 1962. Kernan, A l v i n . ••The Mob Tendency i n S a t i r e : The Day of the L o c u s t , " S a t i r e N e w s l e t t e r , I (Winter, 1964), 11-20. The P l o t o f S a t i r e .  New  Haven and London,  1965.  K e t t l e , A r n o l d . An I n t r o d u c t i o n to the E n g l i s h N o v e l . 2 v o l s . London, 1951. L i g h t , James F. "Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s : The Imagery o f Nightmare," American Q u a r t e r l y , V I I I (Winter 1956), 316-327. Nathanael West: I l l i n o i s , 1961.  An I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Study.  Evanston,  "Nathanael West and the Ravaging L o c u s t , " American Q u a r t e r l y , XII ( S p r i n g i 9 6 0 ) , 44-54. " V i o l e n c e , Dreams, and Dostoevsky: The A r t of Nathanael West," C o l l e g e EngLisIyXIX (February 1958), 208-213. o  Lokke, V.L. "A Side Glance a t Medusa: Hollywood, the L i t e r a t u r e Boys, and Nathanael West," Southwest Review, XLVI (Winter 1961), 35-45. L o r c h , Thomas M. "The I n v e r t e d S t r u c t u r e o f B a l s o S n e l l , " S t u d i e s i n Short F i c t i o n , IV, 1 (1966), 33-41. " R e l i g i o n and A r t in. Miss L o n e l y h e a r t s , " Renascence, XX'(1967), 11-17. N i c h o l s , James. "Nathanael West, S i n c l a i r Lewis, Alexander Pope, and S a t i r i c C o n t r a s t s , " S a t i r e N e w s l e t t e r , V (1968), 119-122. Parry, I d r i s . "Kafka, Gogol, and Nathanael West," i n K a f k a : A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , ed. I.Ronald Gray. Englewood C l i f f s , New J e r s e y , 1962, pp. 85-90. Paulson, Ronald.: The F i c t i o n s of S a t i r e . Maryland, 1967.  Baltimore,  130  Paulson, Ronald. England. New  S a t i r e and the Novel i n E i g h t e e n t h Century Haven and London, 1967.  P e t r u l l o , Helen B. " S a t i r e and Freedom: S i n c l a i r Lewis, Nathanael West; and James Thurber," DA, 28 (1967), 1445a ( S y r a c u s e ) . Pinkus, P h i l i p . " S a t i r e and S t . George," Queen* s Q u a r t e r l y , LXX ( S p r i n g 1963), 30-49. Podhoretz, Norman. *'A P a r t i c u l a r Kind o f J o k i n g , " New Yorker, XXXIII (May 1957), 144-153. R e p r i n t e d i n Doings and Undoings: The F i f t i e s and A f t e r i n American W r i t i n g . New York, 1964, pp. 66-75. Popkin, Henry. "The Taming o f Nathanael West," The R e p u b l i c , CXXXVII (October 1957), 19-20. Pound, E z r a .  L i t e r a r y E s s a y s , ed. T.S. E l i o t .  New  New York,  1968.  Ratner, Marc L. "'Anywhere Out of This World': Baudelaire and Nathanael West,-** American L i t e r a t u r e , XXXI (January 1960), 456-463. Re id, R a n d a l l . The F i c t i o n .of Nathanael West: No Promised Land. Chicago, 1967.  No Redeemer,  Ross, A l a n . " N o v e l i s t - P h i l o s o p h e r s : X I V — T h e Dead C e n t r e : An I n t r o d u c t i o n to Nathanael West,** Horizon,j.XVIII (October 1948), 284-296. Sacks, Sheldon. F i c t i o n and the Shape o f B e l i e f . and Los A n g e l e s , 1964. Smollett, Tobias. S u t h e r l a n d , James.  Roderick Random. English S t l r e . a  Berkeley  Toronto, 1964. Cambridge;  1962.  T i b b e t t s , A.M. "Nathanael West's The Dream L i f e of B a l s o S n e l l , " S t u d i e s i n Short F i c t i o n , I I (Winter 1965). 105-112. "The Strange H a l f - W o r l d o f Nathanael West," P r a i r i e Schooner, XXXIV (Spring 1960), 8-14. V o l p e , Edmond L. "The Waste Land of Nathanael West,? Renascence: A C r i t i c a l J o u r n a l of L e t t e r s , X I I I (Winter 1961), 69-77, 112.  131  White, W i l l i a m . fHow F o r g o t t e n Was Nathanael West?** American Book C o l l e c t o r , V I I I , .4 (1957), 13-17. .  "A N o v e l i s t  Today's Japan: 55-64.  Ahead  o f H i s Time:  Nathanael West,"  Orient/West, VI (January 1961),  W i l s o n , Edmund. ''Hollywood Dance of Death," The New LXXXXIX ( J u l y 1939), 339-40. W i l s o n T.C. "American Humour," Saturday Review IX (May 1933), 589.  Republic,  of L i t e r a t u r e ,  

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