Set in Hollywood during the Great Depression, The Day of the Locust depicts the estrangement and fears of a varied group who exist at the margins of the movie business, tensions exploding at the end with a riot during a film premiere.
Miss Lonelyhearts is an unnamed male newspaper columnist writing an advice column, which is viewed by the newspaper as a joke. As "Miss Lonelyhearts" reads letters from desperate New Yorkers, he feels terribly burdened and falls into a cycle of deep depression, accompanied by heavy drinking and occasional barfights. The novel is essentially a black comedy and is characterized by an extremely dark but clever sense of humor and irony.
The columnist of... the New York Post-Dispatch, Miss Lonelyhearts, is initially cynical about the letters he receives for help. They are a joke. Gradually however, the letters start to move him but he is powerless to do anything. Retreating from the pain into a fantasy world he starts to believe that he is a Christ figure, a universal saviour. But Christ died for the sins of others! The pen may be mightier than the sword but the author wields his like a cleaver, splicing images together to present a savagely grotesque world.