Yank in The Hairy Ape

Yank in The Hairy Ape
Yank in The Hairy Ape

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Yank in The Hairy Ape

Based on what you know about bullying by today’s standards- in school, work, or social environment-is Yank in The Hairy Ape By Eugene O’Neill the bully or bullied? Explain your theory and include dicussion on the final outcome of the whole story.

Topic: The Tale of “Yank in The Hairy Ape” and the Bully in the Office.

Workplace bullying is a reality today as the statistics from Civility Partners LLC indicates that about 70 percent of adults working have been bullied at some point in their working life. The majority of the bullies are found in management positions represented by figures of over 71 percent.

This reflects the tale of “Yank” in “The Hairy Ape” who was a brutish, unthinking stoker that worked in a transatlantic liner who bullied and despised everyone around him as he thought himself superior to his mates. He felt secure and he was highly confident of his physical power over the ship’s engine as he stokes the engines of an ocean liner (O’Neill).

            According to Carbo and Amy, the consequences of workplace bullying are dire to a company and its employees as many employees would opt to leave rather than challenge the bully and stir up trouble. But because of the “bad job market”, they have no option but to stay which results in a demotivated worker and consequentially affects the company’s bottom line.

Bullying has been made illegal since the passing of the Health Workplace Bill which was in response to the illegal workplace acts that were occurring such as discrimination and harassment due to a variety of reasons. In the play, Yank challenged everybody’s opinion and even threatened physical violence as seen when he threatens “Long” when he talks about the Bible and tells him that he does not want to hear the religious nonsense.

He goes on further challenging the other ship workers as he says that his work is the most important and cannot be done by just anyone as they would faint (O’Neill). This reflects the thinking of today’s bullies in the workplace as they brag that they can easily do the work of other people in the shortest time possible while theirs cannot be managed by just anyone.  

This is common especially to those in power or the “rainmaker” that bring huge amounts of business to the company per year. It also could be the people in the management that suffered and strained in order to reach the position they are today are more predisposed to being bullies (Lavan and Wm Marty).

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A bully usually struggles with the search for belonging in the world of the rich and this is what Yank goes through as he works in the liner. Bullies will look for ways to inflict pain to those that reject them or refuse to love them, especially those in the higher ranks or social class (Lavan and Wm Marty). Retaliation from bullies can be devastating, especially in the workplace as they can deliberately plan to sabotage the company as payback.

In the play when Yank faces rejection from the daughter of a rich industrialist, who owned various steel businesses, when she calls him a “filthy beast”. The rejection by the lady drives him into a depression and he later plans on how to destroy the factory owned by the lady’s father as payback. Companies should therefore implement anti-bullying policies and conduct anti-bullying training not only to protect themselves from the bullies but also protect its workforce. A company can shield itself from lawsuits of workplace bullying if they can prove that the supervisor or manager who harassed an employee received anti-bullying training (Carbo and Amy).

Although tough laws concerning workplace bullying do exist, the nature of the vice is difficult to diagnose. This is because most of the cases occur under the radar. We can ask ourselves if a demanding boss or a perfectionist is a bully or what it means to rise above the level of being a “mean boss” to being a bully. We must therefore seek first to understand the bully before they become destructive or even lead to their own demise (Lavan and Wm Marty).

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Works cited

Carbo, Jerry, and Amy Hughes. “Workplace Bullying: Developing a Human Rights Definition from the Perspective and Experiences of Targets.” Working USA 13.3 (2010): 387-403. ABI/INFORM Complete. PROQUESTMS. 18 Sep. 2012 .

Lavan, Helen, and Wm Marty Martin. “Bullying in the U.S. Workplace: Normative and Process-Oriented Ethical Approaches.”Journal of Business Ethics 83.2 (2008): 147-65. ABI/INFORM Complete. PROQUESTMS. 18 Sep. 2012 .

O’Neill, Eugene. “The Hairy Ape: A Comedy of Ancient and Modern Life in Eight Scenes .web.  18th September 2012.

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