Analytical paper: “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” Short Summary

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“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is a play written by American playwright Eugene O’ Neill, a major figure in the international drama landscape during his era. Although the four act drama was completed during 1941, it was not until 1956 that the said literary piece was put into stage, three years after the death of O’ Neill. The first onstage performance of O’Neill’s autobiographical story was performed on February 10, 1956 by the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden.

The play was a success, thereby stimulating wide interest and achieved favorable reviews from different critics.Nine months after, the play was opened at Helen Hayes Theatre in New York City. O’Neill received the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (Cummings). Summary and Setting The story was based on the life events of Eugene O’Neill.

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Though some of the events were altered in order to give justice to its dramatic purpose, it can be easily perceived that the play was written to showcase O’Neill’s struggles within his family and the environment that he was raised. Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is a fateful story which happened all in one day, beginning at 8:00 am, at the Tyrone family’s living room at their seaside home in August 1912 Connecticut. First act begins at 8:15 in the sunny morning. The second act occurs at 12:45 pm when the air is warm and the sky is hazy.

Act three commences around 6:30 pm when a heavy fog surrounds the area and the nearby lighthouse periodically produces foghorn sounds, while the last act begins at midnight when the fog is a bit denser yet the foghorn continues to play in the background together with the occasional ringing of ship bells.Underneath the familiar domestic backdrop, the play unveils the dynamics of a dysfunctional family which is a prison of their own secrets and intricate relationship. However, despite the occasional attempts of each member to show affection in order to resolve the conflict, the recurring themes of addiction, denial and self-delusion, loss of faith, and the characters’ continuous dwellings on their pasts further result in the escalation of the cycle of conflict encountered by the family (Cummings). Characters The central plot of the story line revolves around the family life of the Tyrones.

James Tyrone is the head of the family and is a fallen actor who developed a deep appreciation for money, making him a tightwad as an adult. James is content with playing the same roles all over again, which hinders him to become an accomplished actor. He is fond of Shakespeare and whiskey. Mr.

Tyrone’s other half, Mary Cavan Tyrone, was once a devout Catholic lady who dreamed of becoming a nun or a concert pianist. However, after giving birth to her son Edmund in October of 1988, Mrs. Tyrone becomes a morphine addict.Other than the said reason, it can be ascertained that Mary’s dope use is a result of her continuous exposure to life altering experiences.

She is institutionalized due to her addiction, but she is still unable to overcome her drug use. The eldest son of James and Mary is Jamie Tyrone, a 33 year-old alcoholic who frequently visits prostitution houses and is considered as the black sheep of the family. Jamie often ignores his parents’ request to make something for himself and instead, despite his intelligence, remained as an actor, a job that his father has obtained for him.His lax attitude is a result of the guilt feelings he has towards the death of Eugene, his infant brother, who contracted measles from Jamie when he was still a child, which caused the infant’s death.

Another reason for Jamie’s life failure may be attributed to his jealousy towards his brother Edmund. O’Neill’s life was modeled in the character of Edmund Tyrone, the 23 year-old son of James and Mary who developed a tuberculosis, which worries his family most especially Mrs. Tyrone. Edmund travels the world by working in a ship and has shown a promising capability as a writer.

Despite his condition, Edmund enjoys whiskey much like his father. Another character that helps develop the characters throughout the story is Cathleen, the family’s Irish domestic. Cathleen provides comments towards each character during the course of the play, alongside the questions that she asks making the thoughts of the other characters to be easily conveyed (Cummings). Genre The genre of the play is a tragedy because it subjects its audience to relieve emotional tension most especially at the point when one could witness the slow deterioration of the strong foundation of a once-close family.

Nevertheless, the play appeals to the sense, making it realistic in style. The conflict, which developed due to several reasons including drug addiction, denial, lax attitude toward money, work and family relationship, and miscommunication, is a clear representation of how many families today remain dysfunctional despite the promising capability of the family members to achieve great things. Themes Drug addiction is a recurring theme in the play. All of the Tyrones depended on drugs in order to escape reality as a direct result of their exposure to life altering events.

However, instead of finding solutions to the problems that built up between the family, drug and alcohol use further exacerbated the issue. Another notable theme in the story is their involvement in denial and self delusion. Each of the members of the Tyrone family refused to acknowledge his or her own faults and weaknesses. Instead, they blamed things to another member of the family so that they may appear as the victim of the situation.

Nevertheless, each of the Tyrone escaped the discord that they are entangled with by taking refuge on drugs and alcohol.Under the influence, they probed on the past wishing things were not as they are. This haunting presence of the past in the lives of the family members also played a significant role in the deterioration of the Tyrone family values. The past experiences of each individual hindered them to move on and also became the main source of their loss of faith for each other.

Because of the said experiences, they live under a single roof but are living with each life separately. Miscommunication was also one of central ideas in the play, which make the family’s spiraling downward quicker.Most of the time, Mary’s drug use was discussed only by the men but was not directly confronted with Mary, leaving her to lie to herself much more (Reynolds). For the foregoing, it is evident that Eugene O’Neill lived a life of pain and distraught which served as his inspiration in order to write the play “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

” Despite the odds that were presented in O’Neill’s autobiographical story, what he did is a literature that gave depth to the importance of family in one’s life.

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Analytical paper: “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” Short Summary. (2017, May 10). Retrieved from

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