Is Long Day's Journey into Night a tragedy of a modern family?
Tell me about the problems of modern youth, old parents, non-serious attitude towards life of youth, in connection with Long Day`s Journey into Night.
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This now-classic American play (finally published in 1956) does not pretend to be a sociological study or a typical portrait of an American Family. O’Neill is writing autobiography here, and taking the full privilege of the artistic voice by dramatizing his own personal experiences with his dysfunctional family, caused by his mother’s dependence on drugs and his father’s retreat into alcoholism after his acting career collapsed. O’Neill was making no effort to universalize this experience. It is a portrait of deviation, of distortion of the norm. Closer to an emblematic portrait of the American family is his Ah, Wilderness, where the family functions on a slightly more rational level. Nor is the Tyrone family typical; they are well-educated New England professional people. The play, completed in 1942, shows an America before WWII. The inability of the family members to communicate fruitfully may be seen as a precursor to the family conflicts dramatized by David Mamet and other contemporary playwrights, but it would be a stretch to consider this play as a study in the dynamics of a typical American household, despite such psychological features as sibling rivalry, parental disrespect, substance abuse, and hidden self-guilt (one of the driving details in the exposition is the death of another son, Eugene, because of the disobedience of Edmund in childhood).
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