AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number4. October   2020                                Pp.177- 186

Social Darwinism in O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape: Studies of the Modern Issues and Their Influences on American Society in the 1920s

Independent Researcher
Hotat Bani Tamim; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


In the early 20s, O’Neill produced The Hairy Ape and introduced an account of the misrepresentation of proletariat states in American society. The article aims to demonstrate that The Hairy Ape is not only a play concerning the subject of social classes but also an application of Social Darwinism. It opens up new significant issue to highlight the exploitation, isolation, and alcohol prohibition and women’s role in the society that affected all classes of society in the US. However, a social study proposed that Social Darwinism is the essence for illustrating social classes, the cause of class struggles, and changes to the status of women in America in the 1920s. This paper presents a novel finding that men, as workers, were adversely persecuted, growing numb to their human responses and emotions; they were personified as animals, devoid of intellectual thinking and acting on a level of basic instinct and pack mentality. Concurrent with the demise of male intellectualism and emotional awareness, there was an advance in the status of women; women flourished and experienced a growing sense of freedom in terms of fashion and voting.

Cite as:

Alhumoud, F. S. A. (2020). Social Darwinism in O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape: Studies of the Modern Issues and Their Influences on American Society in the 1920s. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (4).177- 186.


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Fatimah Saleh A Alhumoud has got an MA English Literature with three years of experience
teaching English as a second language in higher education. She is interested in searching for
feminist, historical, psychological analyses in literature. However, she seeks to perform academic
research and high quality of teaching. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4863-5051