College of Languages
An essay about:
The sources of difficulty in understanding “The Hairy Ape”
Instructor: Dr. Tara Dabbagh
Written by: Brwa, Eman, Hawnaz, Mariam, Mazin Date: 29/11/2011
Expressionism was one of the movements that appeared in the early 20th century. It is soon applied to drama. Among the playwrights who wrote expressionistic plays is Eugene O’Neil. His play “the hairy ape” considered as an expressionistic play. Though this kind of drama is new, we face difficulties in understanding it. So this essay is shedding light on some of these difficulties which students face that are the language, plot, the historical background, religious conflict with our religion, and the new techniques in expressionism dramas. One of the difficulties that many non-native speakers face while reading O’Neil’s play is language difficulty. Concerning the language of his play “the hairy ape” we find difficulty specially because he uses a form of writing in terms of spoken in a distorted way to suit the purpose of his play. First, using an abbreviated style that is using short phrases. This raise problems in grasping the idea behind the speeches easily. We need to pay a great attention to it to get the idea and that is a disturbing quality of language. Second, the syntax of the language is compressed that is no word order in most of the sentences. This may lead to misunderstanding of the meaning of the lines. Third, because the writer uses a language in form of spoken that is the language of daily life. So he uses short terms of words in which the spelling of them is very difficult specially in the language of Yank. This make us face difficulties in understanding the speeches for example something is written as somep’n, with as wit or wid, work as woik, girl as goil. [Written by EMAN] Plot in expressionism might have three difficulties to understand. These are episode, not real conflict, and ideas. First of all episode, plot in the play replaced by episode; we have circle plot so that throughout the play we little by little conscious that there is tough issues which it becomes tough truth it is difficult because the readers wait to get the result which make them convent in spite of that they be aware of. Difficulty in episode that there is turning point, the reader always waiting for what would happen the difficulty is that they couldn’t guess. For instance in the hairy ape, after meeting weak but rich Mildred with powerful Yank. Second, no real conflict, actually conflict is exist but it is inner conflict which makes difficult to understand the conflict is hidden behind dialogue, even silent, pause and sound. For example in 5th scene Long said Yank in Fifth Avenue that “…they wouldn’t bloody well pay that for a hairy ape’s skin…” and Yank clenching his fist, his face growing pale with rage…said in stage direction. Next, in the episode avoid of cause and effect, which makes difficult to understand and the reader at the beginning always search for something to make understand, and there is no connection between the characters. Third issue is philosophical idea which dominated the whole elements like characters, episode, theme, language tone and atmosphere. At the end the reader carry the heavy idea it is last difficulty in which some reader accept the idea and others don’t. If you don’t accept it means that you didn’t understand it perfectly but if you accept the idea so your conscience’s sleep be aware suddenly and in the same time you know that how much you are unable. It is last issues that your mind is dominated by the theme, actually thinking about issues but do nothing. In hairy ape, writer insult issues for reader but in the end didn’t resolve it and the poor reader alone faced the big issues. [Written by MARIAM] Having a historical background about their life at that time is essential to understand the hidden ideas in the...