The action of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night takes place in one long, long day and night in 1912, the summer home of Tyrone in New London, Connecticut. Spiny and acrid senior Tyrone James, the poor young man, who became the great Shakespearean actor, for many years playing the same role over and over again in a commercial play, just to make money. Father, James Tyrone, in his childhood came to know too early to the price of a dollar and fear of miserable shelter. Now he is not very generous man, trembling over every penny. This can be partly explained by the origins of his character. James himself and his family, were twice evicted from their shabby shacks that they used to call home, the furniture, which is so valued by overstrain excercise of livelihood mother, thrown into the gutter. James had to learn the severity of human labor when he was a small boy, because he had to work hard from such a young age. Child labor issue here is episodic, but staggers thus no less. Also out of Mary’s memories one learns about Tyrone’s desire to alcohol and that he always used to drink: “Always a bottle on the bureau in the cheap hotel rooms”.
His wife Mary has just returned from the resort. She’s a real lady, an Irish Catholic with iron moral principles, but strangely distanced from all around the world and a person living in the most obscure dreams and visions of the past, fantasies and trembling memories. In part, this condition is caused by her reliance on drugs, which began when she was treated with cheap, rogue doctors. However, Mary does not behave unsocially in public, as long as she gets her drug. She also with great glow recalls the years which she spent in the monastery, her desire to become a nun and those hours when she played the piano. All these memories involve her in a reliable, full-blooded, cozy and something she felt in the past and can not find now. So why to protest when hallucinations bring her back in the veil and satin slippers and her beautiful wedding dress, and that is enough for her to make everything around seem luminous. The eldest son Jamie tried to follow the footsteps of his father and become an actor, but after having failed shamefully he is seeking solace in alcohol, and gradually turns into a cynic, who would rather destroy everything than show his true feelings.
The younger son Edmund, a burgeoning writer, is recovering from tuberculosis. For such a long time he has been treated in a second-rate hospital, in which he was put by his tight-fisted father. And as soon as the day comes to an end, all members of the family are crammed with scalding pain and revelation of buried hostility and contempt. O’Neill creates in Edmund a dramatic alter ego who watches, listens, perhaps records it all, and tries to understand. The life of every member of the James family flows between spirituality and weightlessness, between tangible routine of everyday life, alienation, and the remains of of a kindred affection, between public and private, mirages and reality, rivalries and affections, art and craft. Thus the whole book consists of long discussions among family members with each other.