Long Day's Journey Into Night
How we cite our quotes:
[My mother] used to scold my father. She'd grumble, "You never tell me, never mind what it costs, when I buy anything! You've spoiled the girl so, I pity her husband if she ever marries. She'll expect him to give her the moon. She'll never make a good wife."
She laughs affectionately.
She smiles at Tyrone with a strange, incongruous coquetry.
But she was mistaken, wasn't she James? I haven't been such a bad wife, have I? (3.1.74)
Well, that's the question – has she been a bad wife? It's clear James had some major flaws, but it also seems true that Mary is a bit spoiled. Her resentment throughout the play sometimes smacks of privilege, that she deserves better than she gets, and that others ought to be responsible for keeping her content.
Who wants to see life as it is, if they can help it? It's the three Gorgons in one. You look in their faces and turn to stone. Or it's Pan. You see him and you die – that is, inside you – and have to go on living as a ghost. […] We are such stuff as manure is made on, so let's drink up and forget it. (4.1.42-44)
On one level, this speech is just Edmund's finest description of how he sees reality as worthless. But note also that Edmund makes his case by use of mythology and literature (parodying Shakespeare). In other words, the only way to describe life's horrors is indirectly, through literary allusion. In a sense, then, this passage is a justification of the work as a whole – the only way for us to gaze at the horror of real life is elliptically, through the fictionalized portrayal of the Tyrone family.
I suppose I can't forgive her – yet. It meant so much. I'd begun to hope, if she'd beaten the game, I could, too. (4.1. 92)
This passage gives us an angle on Jamie's suffering that we really didn't have before. In addition to finding out that Jamie acknowledges an addiction he wants to beat, we also discover that he was really counting on his mother to be a role model, and she let him down. Jamie admits that he hadn't completely forsaken his family and the idea that his mother could be an inspiration to him. Now, though, it seems like all hope is lost.