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Edmund Tyrone ~ Tasmima
Edmund is the second son of the Tyrone family. He is described as having a "high forehead like his mother and a straight nose like his father". His hair is dark brown and sunbleached red at the ends. He however is in visibly bad shape as his skin is sallow and he is much thinner than he should be. Because of his poor health, he spends most of his time reading a variety of material, not just Shakespeare like his father; as a result, their views differ completely. Edmund has spent some time traveling and can be a "pessimistic poet" as his father calls him.
Because Edmund has consumption (tuberculosis), which was usually deadly at the time, he effects the dynamics of the family in many different ways. He brings out the obvious stinginess of his father, James Tyrone, who is always going on about "the value of a dollar." James continuously tries to send Edmund to cheap doctors and institutions for his sickness because although he loves his son, he deeply believes Edmund is a lost cost and spending all that money on him would be a waste. However, Edmund is not always the victim of his circumstances as his sickness could be considered the blame for Mary's recent fall to injecting morphine again.
He is also his brother Jamie's best friend and although they have their fights, Jamie is always looking out for him.
"The fog and the sea seemed part of each other. It was like walking on the bottom of the sea. As if I had drowned long ago. As if I was a ghost belonging to the fog and the fog was a ghost of the sea. It felt damned peaceful to be a ghost within a ghost" (131).
Edmund's best strength is his ability with words. He is able to keep some peace in the turbulent family. Whenever his father and Jaime would clash, he was usually able to break it apart. He even took to punching Jamie when Jamie spoke ill of their mother (although it was just drunker blabber).
Physically, Edmund is weak. He has always been weak as a child and now his consumption is also getting the best of him. Although he tries to find humor in it, it is obvious his illness has withered away his spirit
Jamie Tyrone~ Kishan
Jamie is the elder son of the Tyrone family. He is in his early thirties and he spends much of his time at the whorehouse or drinking. He has also dropped out of several colleges and as a result relies on his parents. His father says Jamie has no ambition, is lazy, and wastes money. Much of the conflict between Jamie and his father comes from the fact that Jamie wastes money on alcohol and women, while Tyrone does not even waste money for a decent doctor. Jamie’s significance in the text is to be a foil to Tyrone as they both constantly butt heads especially over things like money management and if Mary is back on morphine. Jamie’s other significance is that he has been a bad influence on Edmund, partially out of jealousy, but he still deeply cares about Edmund as he wants their father to pay for the best sanatorium for Edmund.
Jamie says, “I suppose I can’t forgive her - yet. It meant so much. I’d begun to hope, if she’d beaten the game, I could, too” (4.1.92). Here we see for the first time Jamie admitting he has an addiction and that he wants to get rid of the addiction; however, the person he was counting on, his mother, is dealing with an addiction herself. Mary was supposed to be Jaime’s role model and Mary was never able to live up to it. Here we see Jamie’s suffering from never having an adult to guide him through his addiction.
A strength of Jamie’s is that no matter how pessimistic something may sound he tells people what he thinks, he is able to speak his mind. For example Jamie says that Mary is back on morphine when no one else wants to believe it. A weakness of his is that he is jealous of his brother, and he dealt with that with alcohol, women, and being a bad influence on Edmund. The first brother he had died and it is quite possible that he knowingly entered the baby’s room when he knew that his measles could kill the baby if he went near the baby. This constant jealousy of his brother’s has taken over him.
Mary Tyrone ~ Yasmin
Mary Tyrone is the m
other of Edward and Jamie Tyrone and wife of James Tyrone who just returned from morphine addiction recovery. She came from an Irish Catholic home and aspired to one day become either a nun or a concert pianist. Mary adored her father but when he died of consumption, she was never the same person again. Mary often expresses feeling alone because of the life she has with her family, in which they never stay in one place so she does not have any friends. When her son Edmund began to become sick and it appeared possible to Mary that her son might have consumption, she returned to hiding her morphine addiction to tune out of the loneliness and guilt she felt in the world.
One of Mary’s weaknesses is her using morphine to feel less lonely and full of life while lying to her family about it. Another weakness is her insecurities especially about her hands which were once beautiful but now suffer from rheumatism. She also stays at home dreaming of having achieved her dreams of being a nun or concert pianist and wishing that she had friends. Although we see many of Mary’s weaknesses throughout the novel, we also see quite a few strengths in her. One of these strengths is her ability to defend herself and the fact that she is very open with her problems. I personally expected Mary to hide the fact that she was so alone but she even lets her children and husband know it. Another strength is her ability to keep her family together and want the best for them. Although she is not happy with her life, she has never left, she continues to be a loving mother and wife.
Mary Tyrone Act II Scene I- “None of us can help the things life has done to us. They're done before you realize it, and once they're done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever.”
Cathleen ~ Atithan
Cathleen is the housemaid for the Tyrone family, and she is very flirtatious and a bit naive. She appears in the play briefly where she flirts with Edmund in the beginning of
Act 2, and then drunk in Act 3. There isn't a lot of information about her. Cathleen had an appearance in Act 3 simply because Mary didn't want to be alone so she offered
Cathleen a drink so she can have someone to talk to. Cathleen takes the offer and continues to drink and listen to Mary's stories. She talks about how Smythe, the driver, keeps hitting on and flirting with her, which again sort of shows her flirty side. She comes off as naive due to the fact that she doesn't realize Mary's addiction when she
went to get the prescription at the drug store. Due to them both being intoxicated, they were talking as if they were close friends. In reality, Cathleen does not have a significant role in this play; she simply appears very briefly to help move the plot along.
Act 3: "It mattered to me, then! I'm not used to being treated like a thief" (103).
James Tyrone ~ Robert
Character Description: Husband to Mary and Father to Edmund and Jamie. Since his father left him at a very young age, he had to go to work immediately. This instilled a strong work ethic in him and it also taught him the value of a dollar. James is an avid drinker, which leads to his abuse of alcohol, a trait that he has passed down to his two sons. Because of James’ knowledge of what a dollar amounts to, he becomes very stingy with money.
Significance to the text: one of the main characters in the play. His stinginess with money lead to his wife's drug addiction, and he introduced his son's to alcohol and a very young age. So you could say that James is the source of most of the family's problems. Despite this fact, he tries his best to keep the family together.
Key Quote: “Yes, forget! Forget everything and face nothing! It’s a convenient philosophy if you’ve no ambition in life…” (Act 1, Scene 1)
Strengths: Strong work ethic, knows the value of a dollar
Weaknesses: Alcoholic, stingy when it comes to money, doesn't know how to express his emotions
Every family member in Long Day's Journey Into Night has some sort of addiction. For Jamie, Edmund, and James, their addiction is alcohol. For Mary, it is morphine. For all of them, their addiction is a means to escape their unstable lives. Jamie spends his money on brothels and booze because he wants to forget his failures. Edmund drinks to forget about the woes if his illness. James loads up on the whiskey because the pressure of his money and family is always forced upon him.
And then Mary injects morphine because she is traumatized by the past and the illness of her son. They all continue to justify their addictions and as the story progresses, they require more and more of their poison to obtain relief.
"Well what's wrong with being drunk? It's what we're after isn't it? Let's not kid each other, Papa. Not tonight. We know what we're trying to forget" (Edmund 132).
Every member of the Tyrone family is suffering throughout the play. Jamie suffers because of his past actions and failures. Edmund suffers because of his illness and his mother’s morphine addiction. James suffers because of the problems his family faces and the issue of money. Mary suffers from an addiction to morphine and inability to escape her past. Mary says, “That’s what makes it so hard – for all of us. We can’t forget.” (1.1.228). Here we see that Mary is really suffering and it is not from something going on in the present, but something that happened in the past. Mary could possibly be alluding to the death of her second son Eugene and how she blames herself for his death. Due to all the suffering, the mood of the Tyrone household is very depressing.
Lies and Deceit - Yasmin
We can tell the Tyrone family is full of lies and deceit since just through reading about this one day in their lives, we have discovered more fued and betrayal than we can handle. The main lie that appears in the novel is Mary’s deceit to her family by telling them that she is no longer a dope fiend since she has been out of treatment. However, readers must play devils advocate and notice that Mary also feels deceit by her own family because they are constantly watching her and don’t believe her even if they have a reason not to. She doesn’t get the privacy she feels she deserves and this both stresses and angers her. Another major case of deceit appears towards the end of the novel as Jamie tells Edmund, “I’d like to see you become the greatest success in the world. But you’d better be on your guard. Because I’ll do my damnedest to make you fail. Can’t help it”(p. 169). This shows how although Edmund believed that Jamie was always looking out for him and being the best role model he could, Jamie was selflessly hoping to make Edmund a wreck just like himself.
Memory and the past- Robert
Everyone's memory of the past has a significant impact on the present and their future. Everyone in the family dwells on old mistakes and can't seem to move on. Mary, for example, wishes that she never married James in the first place. Jaime says that he can't forget about his mom's morphine addiction and doesn't let her live it down. The family is so focused on the past and the mistakes made, that they can't seem to move on to create a new future so that they could finally break away from all the pain that the past has caused all of them. It seems like the past has such a powerful grip on the family, that the family believes that there is no point in trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they dug themselves into. Mary say, "The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won't let us." (Act 2, Scene 2). This shows that Mary cannot differentiate between the past, present, and future.
All families have faults, but at the end of the day, you can always rely on your family to be there for you. The Tyrone family that used to be a close family still love and care for each other, but over the years have become a turbulent family with a lot of problems. If everyone has a problem of their own, then how can they possibly be there to help each other out? Their problems include addictions, sicknesses, cheapness, etc. These factors led the family to blame each other for one problem, then victimize themselves for another problem, and so on and so forth. This family doesn't even have parental figures responsible enough to take care of the family so how can they be an ideal family? "Edmund says, "It's pretty hard to take at times, having a dope fiend for a mother" (120)! This is a significant detail of how messed up the Tyrone family really is.
Pallor-unusual or extreme paleness, as from fear, ill health, or death (12)
Fastidious-excessively particular (13)
Tonsure-the act of cutting the hair or shaving the head (13)
Stolid-not easily moved emotionally (13)
Aquiline-of or like the eagle or its beak; hooked (19)
Beguiling- misleading, deceptive (19)
Probing-examining, searching thoroughly (20)
Rebuke-to express stern disapproval of (24)
Lilt-a rhythmic swing or cadence (28)
Hulk-a bulky or unwieldy person, object, or mass (32)
Kishan ~Act 2 Scene 1:
Garrulous- talkative (53)
Sultry- attractive in a way that suggests a passionate nature (53)
Lark- to play or have a merry time (56)
Cynical- believing that people are motivated by self interest (60)
Placating- make someone less angry (60)
Apprehensive- anxious or fearful (61)
Volubly- talkative (64)
Exasperatedly- to provoke (65)
Caustically- severely critical (67)
Detachment- impartiality or aloofness (72)
Robert~ Act 2, Scene 2:
Aloofness- state of being distant (71)
Coaxingly- influence by gentle persuasion (74)
Heartiness- affectionate (75)
Uncanny- extraordinary (77)
Rebuking- to express stern disapproval of (77)
Derisive- mocking (77)
Contrition- sincere penitence (77)
Caustically- capable of destroying living tissue (79)
Cynicism- distrusting the motives of others (78)
Disdainfully- scornful (78)
Act 3: Atithan
Intermittently- coming and going at intervals (97)
Impertinence- irrelevance, inappropriateness, or absudity (98)
Banshee- a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die; in Irish folklore (98)
Rheumatism- any disorder of the extremities or back, characterized by pain and stiffness (99)
Teetotaler- a person who abstains totally from intoxicated drinking (101)
Impudence- lack of modesty; shamelessness (103)
Coquettishly- flirtatiously (105)
Effusive- pouding freely (108)
Vehemence- powerful, intensely emotional (113)
Pious- having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations (114)
Yasmin- Act 4:
Contemptuously- showing or expressing disdain (131)
Sardonically- showing disrespect or scorn for someone or something (133)
Coquette- a woman who likes to win the attention or admiration of men but does not have serious feelings for them (141)
Vehemently- showing strong and often angry feelings (151)
Maudlin-self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental (156)
Derisively- expressing or causing derision (162)
Jeeringly- to treat with scoffs or derision (164)
Ebbing- the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea (165)
Pique- to affect with sharp irritation and resentment (178)
Stupor- suspension or great diminution of sensibility, as in disease or as caused by narcotics, intoxicants,etc (179)
Scene and Quote Analysis
This scene shows Mary's development as a character who blames others for her own faults, specifically her morphine addiction. As soon as the family starts mentioning her strange wanderings at night, worrying for her, she claims that they do not trust her. The hypocrisy of it all is that she did start taking morphine again and her family has every right to be suspicious, but it is almost as if she blames their suspicion as the cause of her addiction. Mary says, "That's what makes it so hard for all of us. We can't forget" (48). None of them can forget the past because the horrors of their past still haunt their present. This scene also shows Edmund's diplomatic personality. Although he agrees with his father and brother's tension for their mother, he also does not want to upset her and lets the argument go.
(Above: Two brothers reacting while having drinks in their home at night.)
Act 4: ~ Yasmin
In Act 4, Jamie comes home drunk as usual and the mood in the house is highly tense as every family member is assured of Mary lying about her addiction. This scene surrounds Edmund and Jamie as they are both intoxicated. We know by now that Edmund has consumption and may die since his father won’t even bother to send him to a good sanitorium because of his stinginess. Jamie says to Edmund, "I'd like to see you become the greatest success in the world. But you'd better be on your guard. Because I'll do my damnedest to make you fail. Can't help it. I hate myself. Got to take revenge. On everyone else. Especially you. Oscar Wilde’s “Reading Gaol” has the dope twisted. The man was dead and so he had to kill the thing he loved. That’s what it ought to be. The dead part of me hopes you won’t get well”(p. 169). I feel as if this is a significant scene in which the two siblings feud most importantly because Jamie finally tells Edmund the truth even though he may not have wanted to hear or believe it. Jamie comes to a point where he understands that it is possible that Edmund could die and I feel like he wanted to be at peace with himself if Edmund did ever pass away so he decided to tell Edmund how he really felt about him. It contribute to the theme of lies and deceit in the play but also shows how much Jamie really does love his brother although they are part of such a dysfunctional family.
(Jaime accusing Mary of being back on morphine)
Act 2 Scene 1~ Kishan
In Act 2 Scene 1 Jaime accuses Mary of being back on morphine and Edmund yells at Jaime for insinuating false things about her. Mary tries to prevent an argument by saying that Edmund should blame no one and that “[Jaime] can’t help what the past has made him. Any more than your father can. Or you. Or I.” When Mary says this is when Edmund first becomes suspicious of Mary. This is almost like a turning point as now Edmund knows that his mother has been lying to them and that Mary blames things that occurred in her past (like maybe her father’s death or Jaime possibly killing Eugene) for her morphine addiction. This scene also shows that Jaime is not afraid to say what he is thinking and that he is capable of seeing through Mary’s lies.
(James pleading with Mary to forget about the past)
Act 2, Scene 2 ~ Robert
Mary enters the room and begins to discuss the past with James. She brings up how she got addicted to morphine right after Edmund's birth. She blames James for her addiction because he was too cheap to get her a good doctor for her birth pains. She then goes on to talk about her son Eugene who died when he was two. James tells her to forget about the past. To which she replies,"The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won't let us." This is a significant scene in the play because it shows how the past has such a powerful grip on the family, especially Mary. Mary can't get over the fact that she got addicted to morphine and she blames herself for the death of her son, Eugene. She hasn't come to terms with these two events in her life, and because of it, she can't move on and look forward to the future.
Act 3 ~ Atithan
-Mary breaking down, crying to James while talking about Edmund-
At the end of Act 3, after the dispute between Mary and Edmund, Edmund angrily leaves. Then, James return and ask where Edmund is and Mary breaks down crying, and admitting that she's frightened and says, "I know he's going to die" (122)! This is a very important scene because prior to this, she was arguing with Edmund about how he's not sick. She constantly argued that Dr. Hardy lied and made the illness up through jealousy. Mary was simply shielding herself from the truth, not wanting to suffer from the pain that losing her son would cause. But at this moment, she finally accepted the truth, and she was no longer in denial. After Mary said that, James tried to console her by saying that Edmund will be fine soon, but now Mary doesn't believe that. "And it will be my fault. I should have never borne him. It would have been better for his sake. I could never hurt him then" (122). Mary blames herself for giving birth to him; she believes that if she didn't give birth to him, he wouldn't have to deal with an illness and having a dope fiend for a mother. James again tried to console her by reminding her that Edmund does love her and is proud to have her as a mom. In my opinion, this scene is important to the development of Mary's character.
There are many instances where Long Day's Journey Into Night hunts at the breakdown of a conservative society. Mary, originally a convent girl, married an actor although her friends and family looked down upon the profession. She did not care and married out of passion. There is also the tendency of the family to keep hush hush about Mary's addiction like it is a taboo. They have a reputation to keep and Mary's sons and husband do not want to shame her. However, drug addiction may be unfortunate, but it should not be considered shameful. If the family openly spoke about it with ease and actually worked on getting Mary through it, perhaps she would not continue to have the problem. Only Jamie is willing to speak openly about it, but his efforts backfire because he is too aggressive and insulting to have a more enlightening impression,
This book conveys to those outside of America the crumbling of said social structure. To more conservative countries, this may seem like a disappointment, a shameful result. To more liberal countries, this may seem predictable, even warranting sympathy as many times the pressure we as a society put on ourselves is unnecessary and self-destructive.
Belonging: ~ Kishan
Out of the whole Tyrone family Edmund has the most potential; he can really do something with his life. On the other hand his father and brother are both alcoholics and drink themselves to death to mask their misery. Edmund also happens to be an alcoholic but not as much as his father and brother are, and Edmund could have picked up this habit as Mary says from his brother and father. Edmund feels the need to be like his family, so just like his family, he feels the need to be an alcoholic as well. In our society, that need to belong and be a part of a group still very much exists and it is not always a good thing as people can get mixed up with the wrong crowd that can eventually ruin their lives, just like Edmund’s is.
Dysfunctional Family ~ Yasmin
Long Day’s Journey Into Night presents its readers with the dysfunctional Tyrone family. What I have taken out of this topic in the book is that everyone has their own interpretation of a dysfunctional family. Each member of the Tyrone family contributes to the family’s problems and tensions. For Mary it is her morphine addiction and loneliness, for James it is his stinginess and alcoholism, for Jamie it is his alcoholism and envy and for Edmund it is his sickness, innocence and alcoholism. This family definitely deals with a lot of problems, as do most American families, but this play truly takes us inside their home and we learn every little detail of their day. The thing that differs however is that these family members truly speak up. No issues slide or are left alone, within these 24 hours all of their problems and tensions are being argued and brought out into the open.
Economical Pressure ~Atithan
James Tyrone, the man of the house, was left by his father at a very young age, which left him and his family to struggle with money during his childhood years. Tyrone couldn't even have proper education because he needed to work, and the fear of having to go back into poverty was the main reason for his stinginess. Often his family, particularly Mary, complains that Tyrone will not spend money to make the summer house feel like a true home. For example, in Acts 2 and 3, Mary argues with Tyrone, saying that she is unhappy because Tyrone refuses to spend money to fix up the summer house. His tightfistedness led to Mary's, his wife, morphine addiction. In Act 4, Edmund blames Tyrone's stinginess for Mary's deteriorating condition. James Tyrone's past affected his personality and created this economical pressure that stuck with him for the rest of his life.
Substance Abuse: ~ Robert
In the play, the characters drink alcohol, take morphine, etc. to runaway from their problems. James, Jaime, and Edmund are all alcoholics and Mary is addicted to morphine. The family together has too many problems and they don't really know how to fix them or at least try to work them out, so they turn to these substances in hopes that their "pain" will be relieve. This social concern of substance abuse is not only seen in the play, but is also seen throughout the world, especially America. American families turn to alcohol and drugs (weed, cocaine, meth, heroin, etc.) to be there for them when they're in need of them. Instead of actually dealing with their problems, they abuse these substances as a way to escape from the reality that they're so desperately trying to runaway from. In turn, these families not only harming themselves, but they're also creating more problems for themselves and their family. So as the problems pile up, they depend more and more on these substances.
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