The Hairy Ape

by

Eugene O’Neill

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The IWW Secretary Character Analysis

A secretary at the office of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union that Yank visits. At first, the secretary warmly welcomes Yank and gives him pamphlets explaining the ins and outs of the organization. However, Yank soon reveals that he’s joining the union because he mistakenly believes they will help him blow up Nazareth Steel. When the secretary orders several IWW members to throw Yank out, they ask if they should beat him up, but the secretary says, “No. He isn’t worth the trouble we’d get into. He’s too stupid.” Just before the IWW members throw Yank out the door, the secretary adds, “You’re a brainless ape.”

The IWW Secretary Quotes in The Hairy Ape

The The Hairy Ape quotes below are all either spoken by The IWW Secretary or refer to The IWW Secretary. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Pride, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Hairy Ape published in 1995.
Scene Seven Quotes

SECRETARY—President of the Steel Trust, you mean? Do you want to assassinate him?

YANK—Naw, dat don’t get yuh nothin’. I mean blow up de factory, de woiks, where he makes de steel. Dat’s what I’m after—to blow up de steel, knock all de steel in de woild up to de moon. Dat’ll fix tings! (eagerly, with a touch of bravado) I’ll do it by me lonesome! I’ll show yuh! Tell me where his woiks is, how to git there, all de dope. Gimme de stuff, de old butter—and watch me do de rest! Watch de smoke and see it move! I don’t give a damn if dey nab me—long as it’s done! I’ll soive life for it—and give ’em de laugh! (half to himself) And I’ll write her a letter and tell her de hairy ape done it. Dat’ll square tings.

Related Characters: Yank, Mildred Douglas, The IWW Secretary
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:
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The IWW Secretary Character Timeline in The Hairy Ape

The timeline below shows where the character The IWW Secretary appears in The Hairy Ape. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene Seven
Pride, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Aggression and Stupidity Theme Icon
...York City waterfront. In his dirty clothes, he knocks on the door and waits as the secretary inside says, “What the hell is that—someone knocking? Come in, why don’t you?” When Yank... (full context)
Exploitation, Oppression, and the Individual Theme Icon
Aggression and Stupidity Theme Icon
The secretary writes Yank’s name on the membership card and welcomes him to the IWW, telling him... (full context)
Exploitation, Oppression, and the Individual Theme Icon
Aggression and Stupidity Theme Icon
...says, “Yuh wanter blow tings up, don’t yuh? Well, dat’s me! I belong!” In response, the secretary says, “You mean change the unequal conditions of society by legitimate direct action or with... (full context)
Pride, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Exploitation, Oppression, and the Individual Theme Icon
Aggression and Stupidity Theme Icon
...of the IWW grab him. Just before they throw him onto the streets, they ask the secretary if they should “put the boots to him.” “No,” the secretary responds. “He isn’t worth... (full context)