Long Day's Journey into Night

by Eugene O’Neill
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what is the major symbol of reality in the play? 

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The major symbol of reality in the play is, aptly, the fog.  As the play opens, the previous evening's fog has dissipated, and along with it has the madness and confusion of the family and their varied dependencies.  They are filled with hope and optimistic views for losing weight, getting a job, and becoming more healthy.

However, as the fog gathers during the day into evening hours, the family lose sight of this optimism and are mired in the hazy confusion the fog symbolizes.  Once the fog has surrounded them, they both see their realities clearly and endeavor to los sight of them.  To avoid accepting their own failures, past sins, loss of youth and failing heath, they turn to morphine, alcohol, arguments and denail to avert the focus.  

As the fog comes and goes, so does each character's acceptance of his or her own reality, desire to change his or her reality and descent into covering up  his or her own reality.

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