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Hello, my name is Rebecca Linthwaite and I’ve worked at the Morton R. Godine Library as a student worker for three years. Throughout my time here Ive been fortunate enough to browse the large collection of art books. I also have always loved classic literature and the library has some great reads. You can check out the PR and PS section for some of these books.
I want to talk about the modern drama “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” by Eugene O’Neill.
I read this book in high school and also in my Modern Drama class at MassArt, and it has remained one of my favorite pieces of literature. Eugune O’Neill wrote this play slightly autobiographical. The tale revolves around a family facing grave issues. The main character, Edmund, suspected to be Eugene himself, is suffering from tuberculosis, but the family refuses to accept his fate. His mother, Mary relinquished her dream of becoming a nun to marry her husband James, a stingy, outdated Shakespearean actor. Mary is full of regret and starts taking morphine to calm herself. Every night, she becomes more and more forgetful and walks out of her house by the beach into the fog. Lastly, there is the older son Jamie who is an aspiring actor and an alcoholic. Both Jamie and Tyrone share similar hostile characteristics, while Mary and Edmund are submissive, depressed and have suicidal thoughts.
This play takes place in one day, starting from the early morning into midnight. The title is not only literal, but presents a descent of the emotional instability of each character. The play is somber and metaphoric. After reading this drama several times, it makes me try to understand the impact of one’s actions. Also the themes in the story, regret, death, insomnia, loss of one’s potential and so on, are relatable and fascinating to read about. This drama is hauntingly beautiful. Despite the downfall of this family’s relationship, there is a sense that they are all connected and care about each other. I feel this drama helps one understand family dynamics and how to cope with psychological problems.
Eugene O’Neill died in Boston in 1953. He is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain.
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