| Quote #4
This is a fascinating example of the phenomenon we see in quote two above. Just as Cathleen suggests a small drink immediately after describing her uncle's fatal alcoholism, here James lets his son drink despite specific warnings from a doctor that it would be unhealthy for him to do so. There are at least two possibilities here: 1) James legitimately believes that alcohol is healthy and that Doc Hardy is wrong, or 2) James just doesn't want to deprive his son of something that makes him happy, and so weighs Edmund's happiness over the possible health risks. The first, in particular, gives an interesting angle on James – does he actually believe that Doctor Hardy is a poor doctor, implicitly admitting that his money-hoarding has led the family to consult a sub-par health professional?
| Quote #5
Here Mary follows Cathleen and James's leads. It's as if the whole family believes that if they can drink alcohol, then they can be normal, so long as they respect moderation. That is, only an unhealthy family could possibly ban alcohol (what they call "a good man's failing"). To admit that alcohol could be dangerous would be to admit that Edmund isn't a healthy, vital young man. Just like Cathleen, Mary recognizes intellectually (and with reference to a dead relative) that alcohol can be dangerous, but she quickly turns around to make sure neither she nor Edmund thinks that Edmund's in danger of dying.
| Quote #6
Immediately after this passage, Edmund cites a long prose poem by Baudelaire about being drunk all the time if you don't want to be "martyred slaves of Time." And Edmund agrees: the best way to deal with Mary's problem is to be too drunk to remember it. But have you noticed they can't do it? No matter how much the Tyrone boys drink, they can't forget Mary's addiction.