The Life Of Eugene O'neill. Loosely Based Off Long Day's Journey Into Night.

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After reading the play "Long Day's Journey into Night" I began to question it. What am I reading? What is this play about? Who is Eugene O'Neill? After researching his life, as well as the historic and artistic contexts of this play, many of my questions were answered. Eugene O'Neill was one of the main playwrights who brought modern realism into America. I will try my hardest not to insert my own personal beliefs and or biases on this subject. But to kick this essay off, I will start with the biography of Mr. Eugene O'Neill.

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was officially born in New York City, twelve years after his parents James and Ella were wed. He was born on the date of October 16, 1888, in the Barrett House; which was a hotel right off of Broadway. So Eugene was a true "show business" person.(Stephen A. Black) The two main characters in "Long Day's Journey into Night" were indeed named, James Tyrone, and Mary Tyrone, who in which were the parents of Edmund and Jamie Tyrone. Eugene O'Neill used his family as the main source for his plot of this play. O'Neill used his father James O'Neill as inspiration for character in LDJ. His mother had been born with the name of Mary Ellen Quinlan, who later married and took the last name of O'Neill. Her family had always called her Ella, and instead of using Ella for the name of "Mary" in the play he decided not to, for reasons that will be later discussed. Basically O'Neill wanted to create a play that involved his entire "dysfunctional" if you will family, and show how his life was during this time. The other two characters in LDJ were also very important to the story. Edmund was based off of Eugene O'Neill himself, who was the third born child after Jamie, and Edmund. Instead of using his own name for himself, he used his brother's name Edmund, who died as an infant of the measles. Instead, Eugene used his name for his lost infant brother. He did this because using his own personal name seemed to be to "antagonizing" for him, as well as not using his mother's nickname Ella. He used her legal first name Mary. This goes along with the same reason he chose not to use Eugene for Edmund's character, and vice versa.(Stephen A. Black) These characters, or his family, all have a specific purpose and objective in the play. Like any modern-realism play, characters need an objective, there is usually an obstacle, and action; which is what the character does to obtain his or her objective. The main focal point of this play is the drug addiction of Mary and the family's early hope that she has been cured of addiction.(Doris V. Falk)

Using these characters and putting them into a plot was quite easy for O'Neill. These thoughts and characters came from his own consciousness. This method of playwriting seemed to help O'Neill with his family's problems. He was forced to cope, and look at each character and family member and see their own personal view on life. It was very tough on Eugene O'Neill to do this because it was such an intimate subject, a matter of "tears and blood"(Falk, 182). The characters are set in the families' summer home near the sea in New London (Stephen A. Black pg. 44). O'Neill continually wrote about the sea because he had a personal love for it. His character "Edmund" was also obsessed with the sea, which is explained in this quote: "he can at least be absorbed into the processes of nature, especially those of the sea, where nature and the unconscious become symbolically one"(Doris V. Falk). Eugene O' Neill was a very complex person, and his own personal love for his family, and other loves in life tied in with his love of the sea. In his own personal life, O'Neill really loved his brother Jamie. He depended on him and looked up to him because he saw him as the most reliable person in the family (Stephen A. Black pg. 70). The truth was that he saw Jamie as the type of person he wanted to be. Healthy, smart, and courageous or brave. Jamie stood up to his father, especially...
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