Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
CATHLEEN Starts guiltily when she sees Tyrone – with dignity. Dinner is served, Sir. Raising her voice unnecessarily. Dinner is served, Ma'am. She forgets her dignity and addresses Tyrone with good-natured familiarity. So you're here, are you? Well, well. Won't Bridget be in a rage! I told her the Madame said you wouldn't be home. Then reading accusation in his eye. Don't be looking at me that way. If I've a drop taken, I didn't steal it. I was invited. She turns with huffy dignity and disappears through the back parlor. (3.1.113)
People say "in vino, veritas": under the influence of wine, we speak the truth. If that's true, we can observe real resentment on the part of Cathleen, the Tyrones' servant, toward her employer. She clearly considers herself his equal, and she refuses to be looked down upon.
JAMES A sweet spectacle for me! My first-born, who I hoped would bear my name in honor and dignity, who showed such brilliant promise! (4.1.211)
An easy point to forget is that, if Edmund dies, Jamie will be the Tyrones' only surviving son. The Tyrone name, which James had hoped to elevate to a level of social honor and dignity, is in serious danger, with Jamie a loafer and Edmund at death's door. This moment could spell the end of the legacy James would have liked to create.
JAMIE Trying to control his sobs. I've known about Mama so much longer than you. Never forget the first time I got wise. Caught her in the act with a hypo. Christ, I'd never dreamed before that any women but whores took dope! (4.1.194)
This is like that crushing moment kids have, when they realize their parents aren't perfect. Jamie's feelings are further complicated by the issue of social class, since he decides his mother must be no better than a prostitute – a member of his society's lowest class. And this also makes his relationship to "Fat Violet" all the more significant, since he's clearly seeking affection and validation from a woman – or should we say, mother figure?