LongDay’s Journey into Night is a semi-autobiographical story written by EugeneO’Neill roughly on 1941- 1942. The play concerns the Tyrone family which werecomposed of parents James and Mary and their sons Jamie and Edmund.
Mary andJamie were each addicted to morphine and alcohol, respectively. The story dealswith the family’s addiction to whiskey, the father parsimony, the mother’saddiction to morphine, and the younger son’s illness. Resentment, blame, andaccusation were expressed all the times by the family members for not takingresponsibility and running away from the reality. The long journey that thetitle of the play referred to was actually a journey into the past. A metaphorwas used in the play to indicate the family’s confusion life. The fog, in thisplay, mostly, meant to be the confusion life and the escape of reality.
Thispaper explains the significance of fog in Long Day’s Journey into Night. Fog indicates different thing fordifferent people. The introductory image of the fog established the symbol ofMary’s addiction.
In this play, the fog was first mentioned when Tyrone said,”It’s too fine a morning to waste indoors arguing. Take a look outside thewindow, Marry. There’s no fog in the harbor. I’m sure the spell of it we havehad is over.” (Act one, O’Neill) For Mary, the fog represented the escape fromreality. Because Mary liked the state of having her judgments to be clouded andnot clear, she stopped recovering and returned to use morphine to help hermalfunction her judgments. In act three, Mary said to her daughter Cathleendescribing the fog “it hides you from the world and the world from you. Youfeel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be.
No onecan find or touch you anymore.” (Act 3, O’Neill) Mary’s description to herdaughter was not really about the real fog but the effect of morphine thatclouds her judgment and impair her sight. The Foghorn, on the other hand, for Mary was areminder of the real life.
Somethings that took her away from the effect ofmorphine world back to the reality. When Mary was talking to her daughterCathleen on act three, she said “It’s the foghorn I hate. It won’t let youalone. It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back.” Thefoghorn was obnoxious and harsh to Mary, and that is why she did not like it. Another example that explains that the metaphorfog, in this play, represented the lost or confusion life is Edmund’sexpression. Edmund indicated the idea that the fog was a flee from reality whenhe said, “The fog is where I wanted to be.
” Edmund experienced his retreat intothe fog with the help of alcohol so did Mary with the morphine. Edmund’s lost,confusion, and the disconnected from the environment were explicitly shown fromhis feeling. However, his family could not read what he was experiencingbecause all of them were either drunk or on drugs like his mother. Moreover,Edmund used the sea and fog as metaphors of how close he feels to his loneliness.He said, “As if I was a ghost belonging to the fog, and the fig was the ghostof the sea. It felt to damned peaceful to be nothing more than the ghost withinthe ghost. (Act fourth, O’Neill)The father was partly blamed of all the crisisthat the family had. Tyrone thought that whiskey was used as medicine.
In theplay, Tyrone gave his ill sons Edmund a whiskey as a tonic for his tuberculosisdisease. Due to Tyrone’s ancestor, that whiskey was something used like water,Tyrone believed that it was true and he always gave his sons drinks since theywere littles. Tyrone was grumpy and had some childish quality like fightingwith Jamie all the time.
O’Neill described James by saying” a sad, defeated oldman, possessed by hopeless resignation.” (Act fourth, O’Neill) The fog was used in so many ways as imagery andwith significance as though filling the spaces between clarities. The fog wascreated out of the family’s pain in order to dilute clarity. All the members, in this play, needed toescape the reality, but did not succeeded because drugs and alcohol do not lastlong enough.
The fog (the confusion), that this family had, was so thick duethe morphine, lies, and liquor. This family lost its way in life as if they hadgotten lost in the real fog. The foghorn acted as the only reminder of reallife. However, the foghorn threatened Mary.In conclusion, Long Day’s journey into Nightwas actually a journey to the past. All the family members were cowards becausethey chose to stay in the past, but not face the reality.
The fog, in thisplay, was used as a metaphor to indicate the confusion life that the familylived with. The fog also represented the loss of all the family members. Drugand alcohol were used to help the family members to experience the fog whichwas running away from the reality.