Yank as a Part of the System and as a Social Outcast
Yank’s Minimal space In the world which defines his self Is, eventually, shattered by the Intruding gaze of Mildred. HIS search has to do with a displacement. Spiritual emptiness and an isolation that challenge his former lifestyle. As his initial reality assassinates, Yank tries to reconcile with the ‘image’ setting out in search of an identity which would fit the definition of a modern day society; and finds his reconciliation in death, finally accepting the ‘reflected image’ as his. He is thrown off balance when Mildred classifies him as an animal, and his pursuit becomes a quest for his own Identity.
Valhalla Floyd (1978) states that what Is shown by Eugene O’Neill in his play, The Hairy Ape,(1922) has to do with mans primary necessity to find a meaning to his existence, moreover he depicts the problematic faced by twentieth- entry man whose human traits are almost lost in the middle of the Industrial age due to his loss of fate and confidence that was the result of the impersonal nature of relationships. Floyd points out that there is a search in the play, and It is Yank’s search to find an Identity to give order and meaning to existence.
The Idea of a futile each for Identity In The Hairy Ape Is Introduced by Mohammed Abdullah Al- Dually (2011) who portraits Yank as a man who is unable to find a place for himself. He emphasizes the fact that the American individual has no room in the American souse, and he shows the dislocation of the American man inside the capitalist American system, Yank, the hero can not find a place in a society based on materialistic and capitalistic Interest.
In Shame Locations (2011) words O’Neill play shows Yank’s happy and noticeable equilibrium and satisfaction with his life by he is physically strong and moreover he is a leader among his partners. However, Yanks former security UN himself is put into question by Milliard’s appearance who comes to represent the upper class and has the aim of turning his reality upside down. The play tells the story of a brutish, unthinking laborer known as Yank, as he searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the rich.
At first, Yank feels secure as he stokes the engines of an concealing, and is highly confident in his physical power over the ship’s engines. However, when the weak but rich daughter of an industrialist in the steel business refers to him as a “filthy beast,” Yank undergoes a crisis of identity. He leaves the ship and wanders into Manhattan, only to find he does not belong anywhere?neither with the socialites on Fifth Avenue, nor with the abort organizers on the waterfront. Finally, he is reduced to seeking a kindred being with the gorilla in the zoo and dies in the animal’s embrace.
The present work attempts to explain and shed light into the distortion of Yanks identity from the moment of his encounter with Mildred Douglas. Particularly, after his meeting with the rich lady Mildred, he feels himself pulled apart from his natural surroundings : the stakeholder. This concept permeates through out the entire play: Yanks existence is determined by his role as a machine driver, he feels a part of the mechanical world he lives in. This fantasy is what gives him the sense of being counted and what is more, it is this belief the one that makes him proud and satisfied. Abdullah Al- Duality, 2011 :6) Up to the first scene of the play, Yank appears as a fearless character with an undisputed respectability. O’Neill aim is to highlight the social issues common to the period, for people to be able to feel identified with Yank and his companions. This central idea by the beginning of the play has to do with a sense of being a valuable part of society, that sense is precisely the one he loses tragically and completely by the end of the play.
Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 5) It is well known that Yank relies in his vision of societal structure on the basis of belonging, that is why by the beginning, he thinks he has found an equilibrium in life and he is happy with his work. Therefore, he has the reputation of being a hard and very effective worker among his companions and he is pleased and comfortable with his present circumstances. (Allusions, 2011 :1) His feeling of completeness is well described by O’Neill. He depicts him as a ‘part’ as an important piece for the mechanical world he venerates, he is the brute force that makes the engines of the hip work. Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 6) “I’m De ting in gold data makes it money! And I’m what make iron into steel! Steel, data stands for De whole ting! And I’m steel? steel?steel! I’m De muscles in steel, De punch behind it! “(O’Neill, 1922: 13) Yank feels he is a valuable person for the first time when he enters the company, he feels comfortable and settled there, since during his childhood he had been forsaken, he felt at home in the ship’s furnace. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 5) Human traits are lost in the middle of the American Capitalist structure.
The community became immersed in luxuries and overlooked the spiritual world around them. People became mere employees, their morality being split up. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 O’ Neil makes a representation of the American identity in his work. The disintegration of humanity pays the most important factor for this quest, that’s why Floyd stresses the alienation of the American people and of Yank in particular in the to give his life the sense and spirituality that the social system of the sass’s had taken from people as a result of industrialization. (Floyd, 1978:1) The realities of
Capitalism are well depicted through the Voices’ O’Neill presents us with, we can learn about the irrelevance of human beings for the social and economic system of this industrial period, besides this emphasizes specific class structure within the play. O’Neill primary intention is to question man’s religious, social and individual side and for this aim he uses expressionistic means. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :3) Besides, what O’Neill tries to show by calling Voices’ to some of the characters is their insignificant role in society, they were Just mere workers, Just a small piece of the fatalist society puzzle.
In this way, he puts emphasis on the condition of workers in a mechanisms society. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 3) This portrayal provides us with a great deal of information about American lifestyle, the atmosphere he provides us with is a hopeless one, here it can be seen how the different characters work without rest, immersed on the Capitalist system. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :10) Working in the Capitalist system means for Yank and his partners loosing their personal identity, since they never feel the empathy of their bosses, they are just a ring in the chain of production.
Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :2) The work performed by Yank in the furnace is by itself a symbol of his social position and of the implications that the Capitalist system had upon his work. The bad conditions endured in the lower part of the ocean liner are not even noticeable for those in the upper deck, like Mildred, who overlooked these people. In his effort to preserve his identity Yank finds himself alienated from the part of society he once belonged to. The industrial world had given him shelter and security and now that same world took him all, his fate being an unknown mystery.
Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 8) He expresses bitterly: “All disk gives me a pain. It don’t belong. All disk is too clean and quite and dolled-up, get me! It gives me a pain. ” (O’Neill,1922: 56) It is his search for a place to fit in what carries Yank towards his ultimate death. The despise of the people becomes a burden he cannot find an explanation for. He needs to be understood since he feels betrayed and strange. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 1 1) Yanks encounter with Mildred functions as the onset of his crisis.
Up until this moment, Yank feels as a part of the machinery of the ship, he felt secure stoking the engines of the ocean liner and highly confident on his physical power, besides he feels important and necessary, as if the world is on his feet, but this meeting brings him back to earth and he has a moment of realization and questioning. (Floyd, 1978: 2) Firstly, Yank is terrified when he sees Mildred, he loses his honor and everything around him is obscured. In spite of the fact that Mildred has good intentions and pretends to act naturally, she is so fighter that her reaction ended up breaking Yanks world into pieces.
When Yank comes out of the shell he had been hidden in feely to find out what is the real projection he had upon society, he is devastated. Mildred is uncharged of causing an epiphany in Yanks consciousness, changing his illusory reality,. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011: 8) Secondly, it can be said that Mildred Douglas has the function of being the agent for Yanks change of mind, she is the one who causes the overwhelming confusion that will threat Yank till the end of the play.
Her appearance has the effect of changing the course of action and Yanks mental reproduced through her scream, she calls Yank ‘The filthy beast’ and the tension of his moment is what changes Yanks former safety and satisfaction into turmoil. Mildred is horrified by the sight of Yanks physical appearance ND she realizes about the conditions of the workers in her father’s enterprise. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 As a consequence, Yanks determination and security with himself get weak after his encounter with Mildred, he starts feeling as an illegitimate child on the hands of abusive people, while his once secure fate is turned upside down.
The feeling that he does not belong anymore overwhelms him, he has lost his place, besides, his self is broken into pieces when he hears Milliard’s words. Given the present circumstances, he is now a beast, a social outcast. This insecurity leads him into a desperation, which is the most important cause for his search. (Floyd, 1978:2). After trying had to find his place in the social hierarchy, Yank realizes that his search had been worthless, he is despised by all the different societal segments he tries to fit in, so he starts taking seriously Milliard’s comment upon him, that’s why he ends up in the zoo. Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011:12) The beginning of Yanks crisis has to do with his realization that he is not a part of the system. What O’Neill pretends is to epic and present Yank as an epitome of all the workers with the same kind of physiological disruptions caused by the machine age. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011:14) The fist effect of Yanks crisis has to do with his realization that there is no God, Yank feels the abandonment caused by his shocking discovery. Moreover, his continuous struggles to find a meaning to his life are useless and he is unable to endure that.
His God betrays him and he is displaced, that is his major dilemma. Yanks world may not have changed if he had not challenged his present position, but as he is eager to break the mould he is excluded. So, it can be said that once he starts thinking his reality is shattered. (Floyd,1978: 4) The second and most outstanding effect Yank goes through is complete alienation and this feeling is fueled by the end when he discovers that he doesn’t even fit in the animal world, he dies in the hands of the gorilla with a rhetorical question and a possible answer: maybe he belongs to hell. Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :13) In his old days, Yank used to be proud with his Job as a stoker, but those days were now gone. Excluded from the system, the steel he once worshipped now seemed nothing but absurd. His blind perception of the outside world led Yank to be always a prisoner: metaphorically, since he is a prisoner of his ideology, and literally, since he is engaged wherever he goes. (Floyd, 1978:3) Yank becomes a recluse of his former ideas and now he comes out and finds a different reality.
The world has not stopped for him. He suddenly realizes that he had been shucked for such a long time, he feels an outsider, a social outcast without a personal identity. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 3) A third effect can be noted and it is the fact that Yank starts to lose his confidence gradually in the rouse of his search, as the title of the play suggests, the disturbing idea of being an ape is the one why he got really paranoid.
This play proposes a view of regression shown in the annalistic state of firemen who are caged and abused and only valuable because of their physical strength, this is the case of Yank who almost gets mad and is enraged to learn how the other half thinks, and it is this conflicting feeling the one that leads him into a personality disorder that prevents him from a against the very steel with which he declares his kinship: “He made disk?disk cage! Steel! IT don’t belong, data’s what! Cages, cells, locks, bolts, bars?data’s what it means! ?holding’ me down wit him at De top! (O’Neill, 1922: 68) Milliard’s effect upon Yank has to do with a sudden and destructive understanding that leads him into a deep depression. Mildred symbolizes the unknown, someone he cannot understand, someone out of reach. Her reaction when she sees him obliges Yank to make an important reevaluation caused by his loss of harmony. (Floyd,1978:2) Alienated from society, Yanks vulnerability comes to the surface when he sees his boss’ daughter. The dark place he works in serves as a metaphor of his obscured mind, it is in a certain way his ignorance the one that prevents him from seeing reality from a different perspective. Floyd, 1978: 2) Yanks displacement from his encounter with Mildred onwards encourage him to start a Journey in order to find who he really is. He has been left with an existential doubt and as a result, he feels the necessity to see what is outside, but most importantly he wants to look for an identity after suffering from such a traumatic shock for his psyche and individuality. (Abdullah Al- Duality, 2011 :4) The disparity and differences between the characters of Yank and Mildred have the aim of presenting us with two different realities, when these realities clash, class conflict comes out. Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :10) Yank feels as a discarded man once his identity was lost in the hands of Mildred. His home is the furnace and after his encounter with Mildred he feels displaced, existence loses its significance for him, this sensation seems to be a modern age spiritual epidemic. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 : 9) O’Neill asserts that the significance of Yanks search as to do with finding the insight he needs in order to continue living honorably in this newly discovered world.
He wants to put the fragments of his life and personality together. The catalyst for his search was the double image that Mildred had created upon himself. (Abdullah AH-Duality, 2011 :13) At the end of Yank’s tragic death, O’Neill cannot avoid adding his final, genuine comment : “He slips in a heap on the floor and dies. The monkeys set up a chattering, whimpering wail. And perhaps, the Hairy Ape at last belongs”. (O’Neill, 1922:. 96) The theme of identity eremites the play and functions as the existential labyrinth Yank must go through.