Long Day's Journey Into Night
Drugs and Alcohol Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
There's nothing like the first after-breakfast cigar, if it's a good one, and this new lot have the right mellow flavor. (1.1.9)
Cigars are certainly the least frightening drugs that come up in the play, but still, see how early in the text we're introduced to a drug habit. Not only does James have a cigar at 8:30 in the morning, but it's also his first after-breakfast cigar. That is, he has more than one cigar every morning. Not the end of the world, for sure, but we are being introduced very early on to this family's strong dependence on substances
Suddenly primly virtuous.
I'd never suggest a man or a woman touch drink, Mister Edmund. Sure, didn't it kill an uncle of mine in the old country.
Still, a drop now and then is no harm when you're in low spirits, or have a bad cold.
So, this is the first in a long line of weird rationalizations of drinking. Again and again, the characters speak disparagingly of alcohol abuse, but quickly rationalize their own use – this is classic addictive behavior. Still, it's striking to hear Cathleen advocate drinking alcohol the exact moment after she relates that her uncle was killed by drinking too much.
Listen, Kid. You know me. I've never lectured you, but Doctor Hardy was right when he told you to cut out the redeye. (2.1.27)
In and of itself, this quote isn't particularly interesting. It just shows a caring and thoughtful moment on Jamie's part. But this quote follows two pages of Jamie supporting and encouraging Edmund's drinking. First he laughs about Edmund trying to sneak a drink, putting a hand on his little brother's shoulder affectionately, and then he covers his brother's tracks by topping up the whiskey decanter with water. The problem here is that Jamie has no right to lecture Edmund on drinking, and that the boys' force of habit is strong enough to overcome their common sense.