The Yellow Peril: A Scene and A Character

This is an essay on Hugh Leonard’s Da. I intend to investigate the scene where The Yellow Peril appears and to have a look at her character. Is she an ordinary girl or the immoral woman everybody takes her for? The scene where she appears is on page 653 in the play. She walks in the scene and Da asks Charlie about her after Charlie had commented: “You couldn’t even let me lose my virginity in peace.’ (Charlie) Mary Tate’s (The Yellow Peril) character is, in my view, not as simple as it may seem at first sight. The scene where Charlie supposedly wanted to lose his virginity is also a mental “day-dream’ of Charlie’s. He remembers how he was sitting on the beach with Oliver, when The Yellow peril came and sat down near them. The scene follows the form of the whole play. We can hear and see Young Charlie and present-day Charlie alike. Charlie, more mature and not driven by his lust gives us an account on how everybody wanted to “commit dark deeds with the Yellow Peril’ (Charlie to Da) However, to me it is not quite clear whether the girl, called Mary was that sort of a girl or not. “The Yellow Peril never winked, smiled or flirted: the sure sign of an acitivist.’ (Charlie) On the other hand, she has to be avoided, or “nice girls’ will not talk to you and tell your mother about your contact with her. It may all seem to be gossip stuck to the girl for some reason or none at all. Even her name, The Yellow Peril shows how she is taken for something that must be feared. Her name refers to the supposed fear people thought and connected to the yellow races, it was thought that the yellow races will overtake the world. She must have good looks, as she is talked about and wanted by all men in town. Even Charlie admits, that: “I wanted the Yellow Peril like I wanted no girl before or no woman since.’ (Charlie) It is often the case, that girls with good looks are taken for whores, even if they are not. Even women may…

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