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I'm a busted Ingersoll, dat's what. Steel was me, and I owned de woild. Now I ain't steel, and de woild owns me. Aw, hell! I can't see—it's all dark, get me? It's all wrong!
This quotation appears at the conclusion of Scene eight, immediately after Yank has been thrown out of the I.W.W. office. Yank, talking to himself, attempts to negotiate who he is and his personal importance even after being disgraced by The Secretary and the Wobblies. Yank realizes he is no longer as powerful as he once was. He no longer identifies himself as steel, the symbolic metal Yank equates with power, but rather thinks of himself as a busted machine. This quotation also reveals Yank's progression within the play. In Scene one, Yank boasts that he is steel, the muscles and punch behind the power of the ship. However, by the end of Scene Seven, Yank is stripped of this sense of strength and utility. Yank now sees himself as a machine that does not work, he has been exhausted by his efforts to find belonging and purpose and is left as a "busted Ingersoll." The "darkness" he describes is the result of confusion—now that Yank sees himself devoid of function, he cannot see the future or any hope for what's ahead.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Hairy Ape!