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Addiction: Long Days Journey Into Night

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Addiction: Long Days Journey Into Night

"Long Days Journey into Night" is a play written by Eugene O'neill. The story is about one day in the life of the Tyrones, a dysfunctional family who are all addicted to something in their own way. Each of their addictions feeds another member of the familys addiction.

Mary Tyrone makes the transition from normal to addicted most clearly through the play. In Act I, her hands shake, and she is very nervous. When she appears in Act II "one notices no change except that she appears to be less nervous, ... but then one becomes aware that her eyes are brighter and there is a peculiar detachment in her voice and manner" (O'Neill 58). These small signs of her falling back to morphine addiction continue until the end of the play, where she is obviously under the influences of morphine. The morphine seems to make her remember the past often. In Act III, she talked about her two childhood dreams of becoming a concert pianist or a nun. By Act IV, she has dragged her old wedding dress from the attic and attempted to play the piano again. She considers herself to be growing old and ugly, and often points out how she was once young and beautiful.

Marys failure to quit is also connected with her family relationships. Edmund, is aware of his bad health, and thinks that he may have Tuberculosis. He thinks that he can overcome his illness like his mother overcame her addiction. His optimism is crushed when he realizes that she is still addicted. Mary and Edmund are connected in more ways than a mother is to her youngest son. Because they are so similar, it is not unusual that he uses her strength as motivation to fight his own problems.

Jamie is the disappointment of the family. He enjoys whores and alcohol. He was kicked out of college, and is a bad influence on his younger brother. Mary blames Mr.Tyrone for Jamie's alcoholism because he fed Jamie a teaspoon of whisky as a child whenever he was restless. Jamie blames his mother. He had hoped that if she could beat her addiction, so could he. It is obvious that his alcoholism is the cause of his failure in life. In Act IV, Jamie admits that he has bragged up his lifestyle in order for his brother to look bad. This apparently worked, since Edmund too has a problem with alcohol. Although their relationship seems good, its obviously not real. Edmund most vividly describes why he drinks, he uses alcohol as an escape from thought. When he describes the night he tried to kill himself, his father claims that he was morbid because he was drunk. Edmund says, "I was stone cold sober. That was the trouble. I'd stopped to think too long" (O'Neill 147). This clearly shows that Edmund uses alcohol in order to forget. Edmunds drinking also has an effect on his health, worsening his sickness. It is said throughout the play by all the characters but mostly Mary that drinking will worsen his condition, and possibly take away any chance of getting better.

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