Long Day's Journey Into Night
by Eugene O'Neill
Long Day's Journey Into Night Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
Oh, I'm so sick and tired of pretending this is a home! You won't help me! You won't put yourself out the least bit! You don't know how to act in a home! You don't really want one! You never have wanted one – never since the day we were married! You should have remained a bachelor and lived in second-rate hotels and entertained your friends in barrooms! (2.1.114)
Mary's diatribe here makes us wonder: why is James even a husband and a father? He doesn't seem to particularly enjoy either role, and he doesn't appear to be very good at either. Should he have stayed a bachelor? Does James enjoy the appearance of a stable family life more than the thing itself? Also, clearly Mary associates the physical structure of the house with the soundness of the family inside of it. A home isn't really a home without a family, and, for all of Mary's complaints about their house's cheapness, what she means more is that the house isn't a home because of the dysfunctional family within it.
I should have insisted on staying with Eugene and not have let you persuade me to join you, just because I loved you. Above all, I shouldn't have let you insist I have another baby to take Eugene's place, because you thought that would make me forget his death. I knew from experience by then that children should have homes to be born in, if they are to be good children, and women need homes, if they are to be good mothers. (2.2.105)
Sticking with the home-as-stable-family theme, Mary argues that, just as a home requires a family, a family requires a home. One isn't whole without the other. She recognizes that, in abandoning her children, leaving the parenting to her mother, and letting James decide when to have another baby, she let go of her role as a mother became instead only a wife. When she ceased to be a mother to them, her children lost the guarantee of a home.
How dare Doctor Hardy advise such a thing without consulting me! How dare your father allow him! What right has he? You are my baby! Let him attend to Jamie! (3.1.97)
Ouch, right? Hard not to feel bad for Jamie here. It's so obvious (and apparently always has been) that Mary loves Edmund way more than she does Jamie. That has to be hard for a kid growing up. No wonder Jamie craves affection outside the house.