Family Drama Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

Long Day’s Journey Into Night ,a family drama written by Eugene O’Neill, demonstrates the tension and resentment present in family members who suffer from substance abuse. The characters in the drama are all addicts as a result of dramatic past events. Jamie Tyrone’s monologue strongly represents struggles the characters face because of substance abuse. Throughout the monologue Jamie Tyrone verbally attacks Edmund Tyrone, and blames his brother for many of their families’ problems. In this essay, I shall argue that O’Neill’s play demonstrates the impact of addiction on familial life. The family members substance dependency creates resentment between the characters, and as they become ...view middle of the document...

Throughout his monologue Jamie demonstrates anger and mood swings. According to Steven Bloom, these mood swings and anger Jamie exhibits are directly related to his alcoholic addiction(174). All of the characters exhibit different characteristics under the influence, and their addiction is directly related to their dramatic past events. O’Neill shows the impact substance abuse can have on familial life. The family members chemical substance addictions create abnormal conflicts within the family, which can ultimately destroy a household completely.

During Jamie’s monologue he confesses to his brother that he has made his substance abuse and lifestyle look “romantic”. However, from this Jamie demonstrates that his drunkenness is the scapegoat he needs from his past and the reality he faces(Steven Bloom, 174). All of the family members abuse chemical substances to escape a dreadful past, and the difficult realities they face. According to Steven Bloom their intoxication however, magnifies their realities(169). James Tyrone abuses alcohol to escape the truth about the failures in his life. Also, Mary suffers from morphine addicting to escape her dramatic past events. Moreover, under the influence of their parents both Jamie and Edmund also abuses alcohol. Edmund seems to share the same views on alcohol consumption that his brother, and views his drunkenness in a romantic manner. He believes that drinking can make him escape his reality and past events, but when in fact it makes him more aware of the dramatic events he experienced (Steven Bloom, 169). Once again, O’Neill is demonstrating the negative impact that substance abuse can have on a family. Both brothers are alcoholics, and influence each other negatively, and ultimately destroying their own and each other’s lives.

During his monologue, Jamie frequently refers to the dead part of himself and the live part of himself. The dead part of him wishes his brother dead, whereas the live part is more caring towards Edmund. Jamie visions the dead part of himself as the alcoholic “a corpse around the house”, the one who cannot escape his addictions and endless life failures. “He wants company, he doesn’t want to be the only corpse around the house”(O’Neill, 169). The meaning of death in the Tyrone family is more than the end of life or an escape from life, but rather a way of being. Throughout the play, Edmund also mentions death, but for him it seems to involve merging with something greater than himself. According to Steven Bloom, Edmund romanticizes death with his idea of “beyond life” (172). The family members constant denial about the reality they face contributes to meaning of death to the family. The family battles their own disappointments and struggles. Mary is caught in her past, and turns to her morphine addiction to ease the pain. She is not living in the present, and can be considered dead, “a corpse” in the house. They are unable to move on from their dreadful past or break their...

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