Question 1970: In the play “The Hairy Ape” written by Eugene O’Neill, Brian Smith, more widely known as Yank is a working class member of the proletariat. At the beginning of the play Yank is called a “beast” by Mildred, a stuck up self flattering woman of the upper class, in the stockhole. This leaves Yank baffled for the rest of the play, he can’t rap his mind around why Mildred would call him a beast.
In the middle of the play Yank and his fellow crew member go to Fifth Avenue in a search to find Mildred so that Yank can’t retaliate against her demeaning comment in the stockhole.
As they walk down the streets both Yank and Long observe how much cleaner the sidewalks of the “bourgeois class” are than the streets that they grew up on and live around now. They also notice that there aren’t many people walking about, Long then points out that all of the churchgoers are still attending mass and they will flood the streets soon.
Waiting on the majority of the population Yank and Long kind of go window shopping and notice how expensive all of the items are that are being sold, especially the furs and jewelry. This seems to be a huge culture shock to both characters. The amounts that they would spend on the items in the store was almost equal to the amount of money Yank and Long spend on food to feed themselves for an entire year! This fact angers Yank even more knowing how much worse off he has it than his foe Mildred.
Already angered and in a bit of culture shock Yank relieves himself of the store to find all of the churchgoers engulfing the perfectly kept sidewalks. His first sight is a woman over dressed in expensive clothing and jewelry. This angers Yank to the point that he intentionally starts trying to cause problem with the members of the upper class that are passing him by as if he doesn’t even exist. He shouts crude things at a women and she keeps walking by just like she never heard a thing, and he even deliberately steps in front of a man walking to cause a problem and receives a nonchalant “pardon me”.
Yank can function in this type of society because of all of the wealth. He is overwhelmed with jealousy and can’t function around the upper class.