Long Day's Journey Into Night

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Julesm5050
Words 1933
Pages 8
Long Day’s Journey into Night: The Perpetual Cycles within O’Neill’s Play

O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956, 2002) is a depiction of the Tyrone family and the ongoing cycle of events that occur within the span of one single day in their life. At first glance, patriarch James, his wife Mary, and adult sons Jamie and Edmund, appear to be the average family in the year 1912, until one looks further and finds that each appears to be in their own version of purgatory, stuck in a repetition of events and behaviors that are both non-productive, as well as destructive. Ultimately, these result in their being condemned to continually relive the worst events in their life with their most unflattering characteristics, time and time again. Yet, in doing so, they not only self-sabotage, but sabotage each other and prevent any member of the family from realizing any genuine relief or finding any true resolution amidst this perpetual cycle, which is essentially foreshadowed by the title, itself. Therefore, from the ongoing cycle of denial and blame, to anger and guilt, to drug use and abuse, Long Day’s Journey into Night is a cynical story that illustrates the seemingly infinite cycles that depict the perpetual struggles that occur within one family over the course of an average day as the light gives way to darkness. As such, the paragraphs that follow elaborate on some of the most prominent cycles within the story, beginning with a discussion of the Tyrone family’s collective inability to let go of the past, perpetually sending them backward as opposed to moving towards the future ahead.
The Cycle of the Past

One of the most prominent cycles throughout the entire play is the family’s inability to let go of the past. As a result, this creates a repetitive pattern in which the family is in the present, but they then revert back to a mindset of…...

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