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Long Day's Journey Into Night

Long Day's Journey Into Night

by Eugene O'Neill

Guilt and Blame Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

MARY
I blame only myself. I swore after Eugene died I would never have another baby. I was to blame for his death. If I hadn't left him with my mother to join you on the road, because you wrote telling me you missed me and were so lonely, Jamie would never have been allowed, when he still had measles, to go in the baby's room.
Her face hardening.
I've always believed Jamie did it on purpose. He was jealous of the baby. He hated him. (2.2. 103)

Check out how Mary opens by saying she blames only herself, and then immediately blames not just James but also little Jamie. She pretends to be all noble, admitting that she was responsible for Eugene's death, but in reality she thinks James ruined her ability to be a good mother, while Jamie decided to murder his little brother at the age of seven.

Quote #5

MARY
Anyway, I don't know what you're referring to. But I do know you should be the last one – Right after I returned from the sanatorium, you began to be ill. The doctor there had warned me I must have peace at home with nothing to upset me, and all I've done is worry about you.
Then distractedly.
But that's no excuse! I'm only trying to explain. It's not an excuse! (2.2.128)

Mary is amazingly insensitive here, blaming her renewed addiction on Edmund for something he obviously can't control. And she doesn't seem to even realize how hurtful this is. She also gets at a really tricky issue that often dominates the study of history – is explaining an action the same thing as excusing it? Her explanation here sounds an awful lot like an excuse, as she generates a causal link between her relapse and Edmund's falling sick.

Quote #6

MARY
But some day, dear, I will find [my soul] again – some day when you're all well, and I see you healthy and happy and successful, and I don't have to feel guilty any more – some day when the blessed Virgin Mary forgives me and gives me back the faith in Her love and pity I used to have in my convent days, and I can pray to Her again – (2.2.132)

Mary's disturbing trend toward blaming others, in spite of her statements to the contrary, is in full force here. She refuses to take responsibility, again holding Edmund responsible for her addiction. She then broadens her criticism really, really far, to the Virgin Mary, who can, if she chooses, give back Mary's faith. There's never a question of Mary searching out that faith again. Instead, the strength has to come from above.

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