Homework Help

In "The Hairy Ape,"  how Yank is an anti-hero?

user profile pic

jasontsa | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 21, 2008 at 5:39 PM via web

dislike 2 like

In "The Hairy Ape,"  how Yank is an anti-hero?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted August 21, 2008 at 9:11 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

An 'anti-hero' is the protagonist of a play, novel or film who lacks the  conventional qualities associated with a hero.

1. Physical appearance: The conventional hero is usually handsome and attractive, but not so Yank who resembles a 'neanderthal' man. In Sc.4 Mildred is shocked at the sight of Yank and faints saying, "Oh,the filthy beast!"

2. His pride and arrogance: Traditionally, a hero is a person  who is considerate and polite and courteous. Yank, on the contrary, is boastful and will not tolerate any difference of opinion. In Sc1.Yank does not respect Paddy's opinion that only in the days  of the  wind driven ships work at sea was really fulfilling: "'Twas them days men belonged to ships not now."

3. Intelligence: Traditionally, the hero will be a very intelligent man. It's very obvious that Yank is sub-human and incapable of original thinking. Although, in Sc.4, he tells his friends to leave him alone because, "can youse see I'm tryin' to tink?" and strikes the pose of Rodin's "The Thinker," he is so blinded by his stupid pride that he is unable to comprehend the real reason why Mildred fainted on seeing him. He fails to understand that she was completely repulsed by him and instead foolishly concludes, "she didn't belong dat's what."

It is this same stupidity which makes Yank  an instrument in the hands of Long who uses Yank to attack the wealthy capitalists in Sc.5  with disastrous consequences.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes