What motivates the ape to became a human in "A Report to an Academy"?

The ape in the short story "A Report to an Academy" by Franz Kafka is motivated to become human by a desire to get out of the cage in which he has been imprisoned. He realizes that escape to freedom is not an option, so he settles for the relative freedom of being cage-free as a successful entertainer in the human world.

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In the short story "A Report to an Academy" by Franz Kafka, an ape that has taken on the speech and behavior of a human speaks to an academic audience. He admits that he cannot remember very well his life as an ape, and for some of the details, he relies on the accounts of others. However, he relates the story of his capture and why he was motivated, as "a free ape," to take on the yoke of humanity.

He tells that he is from the Gold Coast of Africa. He was shot and wounded by a hunting expedition, and afterwards, he was taken aboard a steamship and put in a cage. It was a small cage in which he could not even stand upright. The crew would come and watch him while they were drinking. He considered escaping, but it would have been to no purpose. They would have recaptured him and put him in another cage, or he would have been eaten by one of the other wild animals that the men had captured, or he would have drowned in the sea.

The ape decided to learn to imitate humans because he wanted a way out of the cage. As he reports to the academy: "I imitated them because I was looking for a way out, for no other reason." He learned to smoke, to drink, and to speak. When the ship reached land, he worked hard to become an entertainer at the Music Hall rather than part of a display at the Zoological Garden. He tells the academy that all along the way, he was "always assuming that freedom was not a choice." Becoming human has kept him out of the cage and given him a satisfactory lifestyle.

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