Author (Your Name)

Lauren Smith, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. English Dept.


Ira Sadoff


The intent of my Honors Thesis, Exploring the World of Hollywood through Literature, is to examine different cultural spheres through a Hollywood lens. I use three primary texts from which I draw examples, parallels, and conclusions: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon; Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust; and Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays. In each of these books, characters are exposed to the grandiosity and materialistic culture that Hollywood thrives upon. The treatment of women in Hollywood reflects on American culture, highlighting gender disparity and transgression, commodification due to people's object-like status, and the need to defend against or repress feeling so as not to be victimized by these forces. As a direct result of diminishing characters to objects, or characters becoming objects of use in the service of fulfilling "roles," characters feel shame and worthlessness. These roles are dually emphasized by the Hollywood setting in which role refers not only to movie roles, but also serves as a metaphor for authentic and inauthentic selves. The pressure of commerce and the persuasion of glamour allow characters to use each other, reducing everyone to a commodity.


Full-text access is restricted to Colby College.


commerce, glamour, objectification, commodity