Sunday, April 21

Book/Play Review: Long Day's Journey into Night

Author: Eugene O'Neill
Title: Long Day's Journey into Night
Genre: Classic, play, drama, YA, Historical Fiction 
Pages: 178
First Published: 1941
Where I Got It: my shelf (Baker College book store)

"The play is set in the summer home of the Tyrone family, August 1912. The action begins in the morning, just after breakfast. We learn as the first act unravels that Mary has returned to her family recently after receiving treatment in a sanatorium for morphine addiction. Edmund, meanwhile, has in recent weeks begun to cough very violently, and we learn later on in the play that, as Tyrone and Jamie suspect, he has tuberculosis. Throughout the course of the play, we slowly find out that Mary is still addicted to morphine, much to the disappointment of her family members."

I read this for my American Literature II class, but I've always heard good things about this play and I've been curious. So glad that class gave me the ambition to read this. haha.

Anyways, this is technically a "play", but since I read it AS a book, of sorts, I'm considering it a book. Normally its hard to read plays for it lacks specific details and etc, but this wasn't too bad. There was  A LOT of details and he did well making it able to be read like a book. 

I really want to see this performed. It was a good story. Very tragic and filled with drama. I LOVE my tragedies and this fit the bill. I loved the characters and I felt really bad for them. Especially James, the dad. All he wanted was the A-typical family, but he was blessed with this lot: a wife addicted to morphine, a womanizing drunk son, a son who tries but ultimately is a drunk, and a daughter is a drunk and a whore is never around. Poor guy. Yes, he's addicted to work, but who cares? At least he's bringing in the money. He has a family to support. They squander his money, so he has to work harder to make more. Poor guy. Stupid family. >.> 

I had to respond to a post on our class website and I feel like sharing that here. The question was "What about O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night could be said to be like the Greek tragedies?"

My response: "After reading the O’Neill’s play, I did get a small sense of the famous Greek tragedy-ness (is that a word?) to it. It was rather sad and tragic. At the end my mind asked, “WHAT WAS THE POINT!?” Then after sitting and allowing my mind wrap around what I just read, I realize the beauty of it. I realize that I liked it and I always have a sweet-tooth for reading tragedies. Which is normal when reading something very tragic and Greek-like for me.
After reading this play, I did some extra reading and research on this play. I went and read some reviews and some analysis websites to see what they had to say. Sparknotes had commented, “it leaves the audience with a sense of catharsis, or emotional rebirth through the viewing of powerful events, and it depicts the fall of something that was once great.” Way better then I could have ever word something. Then Hedy Weiss, a critic of plays, had said, “Mary Tyrone’s view of the human condition is as fatalistic as any you might find in an ancient Greek tragedy in which the calamities that afflict mortals are wholly predestined and inescapable”. Which is completely right. No matter what the characters did, they were destined for their paths. Mary is destined to be addicted to morphine, James is destined to always be fighting and working and taking care of his “broken” family, Jamie is destined to be a failure, Edmund is destined to die soon, and Cathleen is destined to be a drunk and never really around.
In conclusion, I would mark this play as a modern Greek tragedy."

All-in-all, this was a good play/book. I enjoyed the family's interactions and their fights with their personal demons. I would recommend this to those that love tragedies and drama or for those that need a good shake up to their reading shelves. In the end, I will give this 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): I found them intriguing, but I didn't really like any of them.
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Pretty much them all.


Blodeuedd said... not the book for me. I feel nada

Carole Rae said...

lol don't feel bad...I was forced to read this. hahaha

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