Long Day's Journey Into Night
by Eugene O'Neill
Long Day's Journey Into Night Lies and Deceit 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.
I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people. (4.1.150)
Edmund makes another huge, meta-philosophical claim here. Just as he said during his sailboat epiphany, that the real world is something different and way less confusing and stressful than what we all experience, Edmund also argues that language is inherently confusing, obscuring the true message of what the speaker's trying to say. This may be tough, but it's interesting to think about the ineffectiveness of language in this play (thesis statement alert). If everyone in the family is a "fog person," can they ever express themselves properly? When Mary's on morphine, can she escape the fog and finally express herself as she wants?
You can't keep any secrets from her. You couldn't deceive her, even if you were mean enough to want to. (4.1.240)
Mary associates deception with meanness here. While in regular life we might think of deceiving people as not something particularly nice, is deception necessarily mean? For instance, look at Edmund's model of stammering fog people. Deception, for Edmund, is just the way everyone works, and no one can help it even if he wants to.