Analysis Of Long Day's Journey Into Night

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Psychologist Erik Erikson has a theory that assumes that there are eight psychosocial stages of development throughout a person's lifetime. At each stage, a pivotal personal crisis (psycho) resulting in social amelioration (social) should occur for the person to have a healthy sense of self. Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night highlights the dysfunctional Tyrone family, all of which have a difficult time identifying their personal crises while navigating societal pressures. Therefore, according to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, each member of the Tyrone family is tragically stuck in their own dilatory stages of social self-realization.
The online article, Erik Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development from Psychology
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Although Edmund has character flaws, he is different from the rest of the Tyrone's in that, he is blameless for many of his life problems. His father and brother are both alcoholics, much to do with the father, James Tyrone providing liquor as a medicine to his sons from a young age. His relationship with his brother Jaime, is strained at best. Especially when Jamie reveals that he will "...do my damnedest to make you fail. Can't help it. I hate myself. got to take revenge. On everyone else. Especially you."(O'Neill 169). Couple that with the void of having a morphine-addicted mother, and you could see why Edmund's life would be difficult. Regardless of who is to blame, the impact of these hardships has negatively affected Edmund's development. Edmund is stagnant in one of the most crucial stage of development, the fifth stage Identity vs. Role Confusion. He travels the world, changes career many times and never commits to one identity. His brother directly tells him that "I made you! You are my Frankenstein" (O'Neill 167), referencing Frankenstein illustrates how Jaime (and Mary) views Edmund: as coming alive through the dead parts of another, his deceased older brother Eugene. Edmund's sense of self is construed by insinuating that his personality is not his own, but that of what his family makes him up to be…show more content…
In her youth Mary dreamed to become either a nun or pianist, both consisting of an intimate and dedicated lifestyle. Instead though she married James Tyrone and endured many subsequent tragedies. Her decision to marry James an alcoholic, the death of her father, the death of her infant son, and finally the birth of Eugene, created many resentment, causing her to lean towards isolation and ultimately her addiction. She uses her addiction to go back to a time before all of her pains. While remembering the past in a dope haze, Mary says, "Something I need terribly. I remember when I had it I was never lonely nor afraid. I can't have lost it forever, I would die if I thought that. Because there would be no hope." (O'Neill 177). This quote can symbolize many aspects of Mary's life, but it mainly highlights the moment her life path, and self-image, changed. In The Pharmacology of Long Day’s Journey into Night, Hinden makes an interesting note when he says, "As an adolescent, Mary was a romantic day-dreamer who hoped to become a concert pianist or perhaps a nun" (Hinden 48). This description not only fits her being in the adolescent stage during this period of time, but by describing her as being a “romantic day-dreamer” it implies a tendency towards intimacy, something she has lost along the way with her
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