In Scene Two, Mildred attempts to leave her environment and visit the men in the stokehole. Yank leaves his boundaries as he visits New York City later in the play. Both characters meet disaster when they try to cross their social boundaries. When Mildred goes to visit the stokehole where Yank and the Men are working she is overwhelmed and faints. When Yank visits 5th Avenue he is incapable of communicating with or existing within "civilized" society and retreats to the zoo. Both characters are stuck in worlds they wish to escape, but are ill equipped physically and emotionally to do so.
Thus, both Mildred and Yank attempt to scratch off their "spots." Like the leopard Mildred describes to her Aunt, Mildred and Yank are unsatisfied with the life, bodies and society they have been born into, but are powerless to change them. Both the aristocracy and the lower classes instruct Mildred and Yank to "Purr, scratch, tear, kill gorge yourself and be happy—only stay in the jungle where your spots are camouflage in a cage they make you conspicuous." O'Neill develops the theme of entrapment through characters that exist within extremely different social strata. The mutual discontent and helplessness shared by Yank and Mildred is not only imposed by the greater societal structure. Their discontentment also stems from a restless ignorance of their societal and natural other—Yanks lack of knowledge of Mildred and Mildred's ignorance of Yank.