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Long Days Journey into Night: Character Analysis

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Introduction

Long Days Journey into Night: Character Analysis In this essay I shall be examining two characters and their actions and roles in the book I shall also be comparing the two characters and examining their relationship with one another. I have chosen to examine Jamie and Edmund. Jamie is considered a failure by our standards; he was neglected as a child by his parents and never loved. He has become an alcoholic, like his father, and has no prospects for the future. He is often described as a 'whoremonger' as he resorts to brothels to make up for the lack of love he receives at home. He is blamed for killing his brother Eugene who died as a baby from illness. Edmund has been ill since he was born and this is often blamed on Jamie. He is the child born after Eugene and is mollycoddled by his mother, Mary who is afraid to let him go. He is beginning to become an alcoholic through his brother's bad influence. He is Eugene O'Neill's double in the play, and has sailed around the world but is now sick with consumption, even though he has no more lines than anyone else ...read more.

Middle

This shows how Mary grants her children little freedom and independence, by the fact that if Edmund is ever to be sick he knows he can always run to his mother, if Mary had left things maybe Edmund would be away from home and might be succeeding in life. Edmund has always been sick and has never really come to terms with this; "That's foolishness you know its only a cold". This is a good point on Edmunds half because with this confidence he should be able to act like a normal healthy man and go out into the wide world but his mothers grasp on him stops him from doing so. Jamie on the other hand is not as mollycoddled by his mother as Edmund and chooses his freedom to get drunk and spend all his money on whores. His father has an alcohol problem and Jamie does only what he knows and has also resorted to drink, like his father. His father is quite a hypocrite by locking up the whisky so Jamie can't drink and become an alcoholic, but is happy to be one himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

The stage directions in the play help to add depth to the characters and make them appear more human in the text and gives the characters more credibility as 'real' people. The rotations of characters are also important to see how the characters interact. The rotation between Jamie and his father, Tyrone, shows how likes repel each other as their views conflict; Tyrone; "The less you say about Edmund's sickness the better for your conscience". Jamie is made to feel like he's to blame for Edmund's sickness even though it could be down to Tyrone's neglect. The rotation between Jamie and Edmund shows Jamie out to be a father figure to Edmund; "I love your guts, I'd do anything for you" this shows Jamie out to be the father Edmund has never had but Jamie often resorts to the ways of his father; "What are you trying to do, accuse me? Don't play the wise guy with me!" In conclusion we can say that Jamie is doing exactly what his father is doing, even though he dislikes his father's stance in life. We can also say that through each others actions Jamie and Edmund draw out each others strengths and weaknesses. Paul Pellow 5W ...read more.

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