Long Day's Journey Into Night Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- The play is full of detailed stage directions. O'Neill includes such detail for the benefit of the reader. How faithful do you think productions of Long Day's Journey should be to these elaborate stage directions? How could an actor or director use them to inform the production?
- Pulitzer Prizes are awarded to distinguished American plays, preferably concerning American life. O'Neill won four Pulitzers, including one for Long Day's Journey. How would this play work if it were set in another country? Are there aspects of the play that only work in an American setting?
- Why do you think O'Neill wanted this (semi-autobiographical) play published after his death? Does he have anything to be ashamed of here?
- There's a huge amount of literary name-dropping and quoting going on in this text. Compare and contrast how James, Edmund, and Jamie use literature. How do their relations to books illuminate their characters? Can you get a sense of O'Neill's position on the role of literature in our society?
- We talk, in the "In a Nutshell," about the heavily autobiographical nature of Long Day's Journey. If O'Neill keeps so many of the details of this play similar to his life, why does he switch his name with Edmund's?
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