The Failure Of The American Dream In Hollywood

818 Words4 Pages
West’s novel is a response to the Depression that hit the United States after the stock market crash and the period which continued in the decade that followed. Hoping to find the American Dream, his characters come to Hollywood. They are in search of riches, fame and a happy ever after. However, they do not achieve anything, since they are chewed up and spit out by the system. (Turkel, 2012) Throughout his work, West actually portrays the failure of the American Dream by showing that the main characters cannot find what they came looking for, they are the objects of Hollywood. First of all, the main character Todd Hackett came to Hollywood hoping to become a movie scenery designer. He had just left the Yale School of Fine Arts, where he studied painting. “He had been in Hollywood less than three months and still found it a very exciting place.” (p. 2) (West, 1939)Todd has no idea what to expect, and does not have a clue about how hard it is to achieve success in Hollywood. We learn about the failures of Hollywood through the outsider perspective of Todd. In his attempt to paint Hollywood, he starts to depict the bitter lower-middle class set of recent Midwestern immigrants to Hollywood, to whom Hollywood did not offer the dream they expected. He starts to paint them in his painting called ‘The Burning of Los Angeles. “At This time Tod knew very little about them except that they had come to California to die.” (p. 3). These success seekers include prostitutes, a
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