Let's think about Yank and Paddy in Eugene O'Neill's play The Hairy Ape. Yank struggles to figure out what “home” and “belonging” really meaning, for he has never experienced much of either. His mother died when he was young, and his father abused him. He ended up running away to avoid continual violence. Clearly, he never really felt any sort of belonging in his own family, for his parents fought constantly.
On board the transatlantic liner, Yank finally discovers a sense of home, at least to a point. He is proud of his contribution to the ship's strength and speed, but he has failed to really develop any relationships with his fellow workers. Their treatment of him blends mockery and fear but does not include camaraderie. Furthermore, Yank hates it when the men talk about home or belonging or freedom because he has never really had any of these, and he greatly resents that. It makes him feel weak.
Paddy, however, has experienced a sense of home and belonging and freedom when he once sailed on clipper ships. He enjoys talking about the sense of power and purpose he had in those days. He loves thinking about the past and reminiscing about the days when the sea was really his home.
Yank hates it when Paddy speaks like this, for it reminds him of everything he has never had. Therefore, he tells Paddy that the latter might as well be dead, for he is only “living in the past of dreams” where there is no reality. Yank proclaims that he would rather have his current job on the ocean liner where he can experience power and strength. However, Yank's anger clearly arises out of jealousy of Paddy, who has experienced a sense of home and belonging that Yank never will.