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Structural Analysis Of Long Day's Journey Into Night

1648 words - 7 pages

Long Day's Journey into Night is one of Eugene O'Neill's later plays. He wrote it for his wife on the occasion of their 12th wedding anniversary in 1940. The play was written in four parts. The drama is very similar to O'Neill's family situation as a young man, but more importantly, it has become a universal play representing the problems of a family that cannot live in the present, mired in the dark recesses of a bitter, troubled past. Because of its deeply personal nature, O'Neill requested that the play be published posthumously, which meant that the play was not revealed to the world until O'Neill's death in 1956.
The characters of the play are the Tyrone family. James Tyrone is the ...view middle of the document...

These two medical disasters are revealed gradual in the play's plot. In between these revelations, however, the family constantly resumes old fights and opens old wounds left by the past, which are sculpted in the family members’ memories. Tyrone, for example, is constantly blamed for his stinginess, which may have led to Mary's morphine addiction. Mary, on the other hand, is never able to admit to the painful truth that she is addicted to morphine and her youngest son has tuberculosis. They all argue over Jamie and Edmund's failure to become successes as their father had always hoped they would become. James accuses Jamie of being without direction, and Jamie accuses James of being miserly. As the day wears on, the men drink more and more, until they are on the verge of passing out in Act IV.
Most of the plot of the play is repetitious with the same topic of the above arguments. The above arguments occur numerous times throughout the four acts and five scenes. All acts are set in the living room, and all scenes but the last occur either just before or just after a meal. The reversals are listed scene by scene as the following. In Act I, through Jamie and James’s talk, we learn that Edmund might have consumption. In Act II, scene i, just before lunchtime, Mary is detected that she is taking morphine again. In Act II, scene ii, just after lunch, James confirms with Jamie that Edmund does, in fact, have consumption. In Act III, just before dinner, Mary reminds James of the first night when they met and there is a brief, touching moment of tenderness; but it is soon broken when she returns to criticizing him, and later Mary is hurt by Jamie by his direct talking about the past of her problems with morphine. In the last act, at midnight, two talks take place between James and Edmund, and Edmund and Jamie, in which they confess themselves to each other about the past and their defects. But the play is ended up with a mess and madness: Jamie passes out, dead drunk, until James returns and they start to fight again; Mary comes downstairs but she has completely lost herself after taking morphine again. This is also major reversal of the play.
The repetitious plot also helps develop the notion that this day is not remarkable in many ways. Instead, it is one in a long string of similar days for the Tyrones, filled with bitterness, fighting, and an underlying love.
The theme to be chased down is “disability”. On one hand, the disability is a penalty of evildoing and clanger. It can be linked to the defect in aspects such as history, culture, and society. The two lines of the play is Mary’s morphine addiction and Edmund’s tuberculosis, which are also two representation of the family tragedy. Mary is a gentle wife and a motherly mother when she is sober, but turns into a completely different person after taking morphine, who hides away from her families in her imaginary world. Her reliability on morphine leads to poisoning mental disorder, which indicates...

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