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.
In the coosing scenes of the play Yank is released from jail after being locked away for about a month. The falling action in the play comes very fast! Yank tried to join the I.W.W and is thrown out for being suspicious. After being kicked out of the club a cop tells him to go to hell, and then he proceeds to be smashed by (you guessed it!”) an ape that he tries to befriend.
Scene six, Yank is once again depicted sitting like “the thinker”, and also while in the jail block someone just happened to say “dis is de zoo, heh?”. Infuriated by the statement Yank rages, ever since Mildred said that in the beginning of the play it has been eating at Yank.
Scene five opens with Yank and Long walking down fith avenue to seek out Mildred. Though while walking they notice how clean the sidewalks are and how expense all of the furs and jewels are, both Long and Yank are bewildered at the prices the “bourgeois class” spends. As the churchgoers begin to fill the streets Yanks grows what I feel is jealous by all of the over-dressed people and begins causing some issues.
Yank is very sullen after the encounter with Mildred, he doesn’t quite rap his mind around the situation until Paddy teases him by saying that he is in love with her, at that point he tells his fellow workers that he doesn’t think that he has fallen in love but has fallen in hate with her. Paddy disagrees and says why else would she be coming down to the stockhole, they then realize that she is “observing” as if they there animals in a zoo.
The way the situation is handled by Yank and all the other crew members kind of makes me think of how an elementary student would handle the situation.
Mildred Douglas and Aunt Lounge are introduced in this next scene. Both characters sit separately from the rest of the crew hands, they are very pampered and aristocratic. As they walk around the ship acting, and in ther minds, knowing that they are better than the others they are “observing” yelling playful insults at each other basically bragging in front of the firemen.
Scene 3 basically consists of Yank rallying the men to work harder but is constantly being interrupted by Paddy complaining about how he has broken his back. Then Mildred faints abruptly after witnessing the crew hand working and says, “take me away! Oh the filthy beasts!”. To me it’s seemed as if she puts herself on such a high pedestal she has no regard for other human life.
The book opens with the firemen gathering in the ships forecastle, the cramped quarters of the bow of the ship. The men are ok drinking and having a good time on their break from shoveling coal. Yank is introduced in this scene, he is described as an “alpha-male”, Paddy who is an Older man known for his drunkeness, and also we meet Long who is also aboard the ocean liner who preaches Marxism. In this scene Yank and long get into a disagreement which gets pretty heated.
I GOT A WOMAN ON MY MIND…and she ain’t good!