Long Day's Journey Into Night

Fog and the Foghorn in Long Day’s Journey into Night

1. Introduction

Fog appears in many of Eugene O’Neill’s works. In Long Day’s Journey into Night, O’Neill uses not only fog but the foghorn as symbol. This paper will analyze the function of the fog and the foghorn in the play, with particular attention to Mary Tyrone. By the help of secondary literature I will emphasize the parallels first between Mary and the fog and then between Mary and the foghorn. Finally, I intend to find out which of the two symbols refers most directly to Mary and serves as a parallel to her mental state.

2. The Fog and the Foghorn

2.1 Mary and the Fog

The first time the motif of the fog appears is when Mary talks to her husband shortly after her return from the sanatorium: “Thank heavens, the fog is gone,” she says. (O’Neill 17) Because of Mary’s past, the statement seems to present a weak flicker of hope that she will “resist the temptation this time” and come to grips with her morphine addiction. (Tiusanen 285) Already at this point one can draw a connection between Mary’s morphine addiction and the motif of the fog. (Scheibler 131) Mary returns from the sanatorium and the sun is shining (cf. O’Neill 10), which lets one hope that everything is fine. Later on, when Mary loses control over her addiction,...

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