“endings” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     Yank has not grown at all, remaining the same totally self-absorbed (but honest) person he was when the story started. There was never any reason to feel any emotion towards him.  ·     Yank has used other people and when he had gotten what he could from them, he moved on. This began with Jiggs, who saved his life, and continued with the string of women. He ends, after Zena’s suicide, confessing to himself that, without Zena, he would never again write anything as good. ·     LAST LINE: “Unless, of course, he could find someone else.”  ·     So we are left with Yank Lucas, writer of plays, incapable of feeling emotion except in the characters his talent (his “instrument” ?) creates for the stage. Hollow.


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