The Ape Man

The Ape Man

  • Submitted By: funkymel
  • Date Submitted: 01/31/2009 2:04 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1171
  • Page: 5
  • Views: 707

1. What is the related material about?
Richard “Yank” Smith is an apelike coal stoker on a luxury liner. Mildred Douglas, do‐gooder daughter of the line's president, visits the boiler room and faints at the sight of the brutish man. Her behavior causes Yank to question his worth and his place in society. He leaves the ship to stroll up Fifth Avenue, where his boorish behavior lands him in jail. Cell mates urge him to join the “Wobblies,” but the union refuses him. Confused and upset, he heads for a zoo. After asking a gorilla, “Where do I fit in?” he attempts to release the animal. But the beast, like everyone else, misunderstands him, and kills him.

2. How does it link to belonging?
The motif and idea of who "belongs" and the idea of "belonging" are continually reinforced throughout The Hairy Ape. Yank equates "belonging" with power and importance and uses "belonging" as a way to reverse societal power structures. In Scene One, Yank claims that he "belongs" to the ship, as opposed to the passengers in first class who are merely "baggage." Yank also associates "belonging" with an individual's usefulness and functionality. The firemen "belong" because they make the ship run and are essential to its workings.

Yank is especially affected by Mildred because she presents a world and class which he cannot belong to. After their meeting, the play essentially follows Yank in his quest to find belonging, finally leading him to the monkey- house at the zoo.

3. What techniques have been used to show the concept of belonging? (at least 3 with specific quotes)
 Language: Yank's idiosyncratic speech, characterized by chopped and mangled words eliminate the possibility of Yank's successes or acceptance in a world or class other than his own. His deformed language makes real communication impossible. Ann Massa in "Intention and Effect in The Hairy Ape" puts it quite beautifully, "Yank can only break the bounds of his vocabulary and his style in the same violent and...

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