Long Day’s Journey Into Night

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I agree with William Faulkner’s statement that, “The past is not dead, it is not even past.” Not only does what goes around come around, but everything taking place now is a result of what is, or has already been. We are currently living in both the past and present, while simultaneously creating our future as well. These statements can be supported by characterization, symbols, and metamorphosis in Eugene O’ Neill’s novel, “Long Day’s Journey into Night”. If history lived only in the past, then we would have no future.

Characterization in “Long Day’s Journey into Night”, helps to show that people’s current actions are direct results of that which has taken place prior. Mary had returned home after a long period of rehabilitation for her morphine addiction. James, Jamie and Edmund knew how unstable she was and chose not to tell her that Edmund had been diagnosed with consumption. Her father had died of consumption when she was younger, and the news about Edmund would surely cause her to relapse. This secrecy however, drove Mary back to the needle and when confrontations arose, they would all simply settle it over a bottle of whiskey.

Metamorphosis in Eugene O’ Neill’s novel supports the statement that what happens now is a direct result of the past. When Mary first returned home, she looked great and was acting like herself again. James and the boys’ decision to keep the truth from her, pushed her once again into the vicious cycle that was her morphine addiction. Mary’s mental deterioration was made very apparent, as well as how it caused the rest of the family to turn to alcohol to escape. By the end of that single day, Mary was once again addicted to morphine, and alcoholism consumes the rest. This long journey into the darkness was quick, but not the least bit painless. One thing simply led to another as conflict continued to snowball like an avalanche. In the end, the reader can not even identify any of the characters by their original personality traits.

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