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Anna Christie, The Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape

by Eugene O'Neill Paperback
Item Number P804
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Product Information

  • AuthorEugene O'Neill
  • Page Count208
  • ISBN100679763953
  • ISBN139780679763956
  • PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Year Published1995
  • SubjectPlays, playscripts
  • ImprintVintage

Product Description

Contains three plays about ordinary people--an outcast prostitute in "Anna Christie," a Pullman porter in "The Emperor Jones," and a coal stoker in "The Hairy Ape." This edition provides three original plays by Eugene O'Neill, about men at war with themselves and society. In "The Emperor Jones" Brutus Jones is a black man who has escaped the law in the United States and found refuge on an island in the West Indies. Through deceit, Jones becomes emperor over the 'bush Negroes' he so despises. The play opens on an empty court with a cockney confronting the last of Jones' servants who is preparing to 'run away to the hills'. When Jones awakes and is told of the situation by Smithers, he masks his cowardess with fake bravado and is soon overcome by his guilty conscience of taxing the people and of his former life. O'Neill delivers his vision of a destitute man and his guilty conscience masterfully, using the vibrant pulse of a tom-tom to keep the continuous beat that spells Jones' doom. In "Anna Christie", a Swedish Sailor and his daughter are reunited only to discover that everything can not be perfect after 15 years of separation. It is the story of Chris coming to terms with the knowledge that he could have provided a better life for his daughter, Anna. At the same time, Anna must realize that she can not live in a lie, but must tell her father and boyfriend the truth and ask for their forgiveness, while also learning how to love. Finally, the story of a coal stoker on a steam-ship who is confronted with the realization that he is nothing but the dregs of society. With the innocence of a child, Yank personifies himself as steel, he is the power of the steamboat and nothing can stop him. Yank thinks only of himself and those around him, not daring to imagine a world outside that of his natural habitat, the furnace. In five minutes Yank's world comes crashing down as a woman from the outside looks in and is horrified by what she sees in the men. Through possible jealousy and despise, Yank attempts to avenge himself of the girl who condescended on him. When Yank is snubbed by a group he wants to join that could bring him his coveted revenge, he is cast further into gloom and self pity. With nowhere to turn, Yank breaks into a zoo where he confronts his fears by addressing what society claims is his equal. Eventually, Yank is brought to the cruel reality that he is nothing but a "Hairy Ape". O'Neill wrote the characters in The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie, and The Hairy Ape as people at the bottom of the social ladder suffering from grief and guilty consciences because all people can identify with their trials and eventual reconciliations. Beautifully written and always stirring, these plays will never leave your mind or heart empty.

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