In Eugene O'Neil's Long Days Journey Into Night symbolism is used on many occasions. The three prominent symbols, the fog, the foghorn, and Mary's glasses, represent the characters isolation from reality. The symbols in Long Days Journey Into Night are used to substitute illusion for reality. Although Mary is the character directly associated with living in illusion, all characters in the play try to hide from the truth in their own ways.
At the beginning of the second act, O'Neil notes a change in setting which has taken place since the play opened. No sunlight comes into the room now and there is a faint haziness in the air. This haziness or fog obscures ones perception of the environment, and it parallels the attempts of each member of the family to obscure or hide reality. Tyrone, for example, drinks whiskey to escape his son's criticism of how cheap he is. The reference to fog always has a double meaning in the play, referring both to the atmosphere and to the family. Much of the activity carried on by the Tyrone family is underhanded and sneaky, they are always attempting to put something over on somebody and obscure the truth. This brings us to the second symbol, the foghorn. Mary says she loves the fog because "it hides you from the world and the world from you," but she hates the foghorns because they warn you and call you back. This escape is similar to the morphine she takes, and the foghorns are the family's warnings against her addiction. When they discuss the mother, Edmund resents Jamie's hinting that she might have gone back to her old habit; and Jamie is angry with Edmund for not staying with her all morning. Although they both think that she has started using Morphine again, they do not want to have to admit it. Because the men in the family all try so hard to deny the truth and blame each other or the mother for her affliction, it appears that they all feel some... [continues]
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