AFTER CAREFUL STUDY OF LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT WHAT WE CAN SAY THAT EUGENE O'NIEL,S LIFE WAS FUL OF TRAGEDIES OR FUL OF HAPPINESS ?
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This excerpt comes directly from gradesaver, and the link is provided below. Gradesaver has an excellent study guide available for this project.
"The play is deeply autobiographical. O'Neill, like Edmund, was the child of a Broadway actor. The O'Neills were Irish-American, as are the Tyrones. Catholicism looms large in both families, with a religious father appalled by his sons' apparent rejection of the Church. O'Neill's father was an alcoholic, and like James Tyrone, he gave up a promising career as a Shakespearean actor for a part in a commercial but artistically worthless play called Monte Cristo. In the play, Tyrone speaks of this commercial success but never names it. O'Neill's mother in real-life was a morphine addict, and like Mary, became one after the birth of her youngest child. Jamie is also modeled after O'Neill's real-life brother, a dissolute alcoholic whoremonger who failed miserably at everything he put his hand to. And Eugene had an older brother named Edmund who died as a baby; in the play, the dead middle son is named Eugene.
Like Edmund, Eugene O'Neill sailed for years, taking odd jobs. And O'Neill also had fragile health; he was forced to rest for six months in a sanatorium so that he could be treated for tuberculosis, which in those days was a very dangerous disease.
A play of such a private nature would have been too painful to produce during O'Neill's life. The play was first performed in 1956, three years after O'Neill's death. It won a Pulitzer Prize and has often been hailed as O'Neill's greatest play. Certainly, the play is invaluable for scholars seeking to understand O'Neill's work; Long Day's Journey Into Night reveals the most formative forces of O'Neill's life, as well as the values and virtues he valued most. The play also represents an established artist making peace with his troubled past, forgiving and understanding his family and himself."