Long Day's Journey Into Night
Ephiphanies in "Long Day's Journey into Night"
While the word "epiphany" suggests positive enlightenment, it is only negative in Eugene O'Neill's disturbing "Long Day's Journey into Night." Each family member undergoes a bitter revelation within the course of only twenty-four hours. Through self-examination, the four family members all finally grasp the causes of their sorry lives.
James Sr.'s epiphany occurs in the form of a personal confession to his son, when he admits he would have enjoyed his life if he had continued pursuing acting rather than letting money rule his decisions. James reluctantly acknowledges that his childhood poverty led him to be a miser: "A dollar was worth so much then. And once you've learned a lesson, it's hard to unlearn it (148)." His fear of the poorhouse ultimately causes James to realize that "Maybe life overdid the lesson for me, and made a dollar worth too much, and... that mistake ruined my career as a fine actor (149)." Abandoning his passion as a Shakespearean actor ultimately desecrated his life. He tells Edmund, "I've never admitted this to anyone before, lad, but tonight I'm so heartsick I feel at the end of everything, and what's the use of fake pride...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 775 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5269 literature essays, 1584 sample college application essays, 204 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in