• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Finding the Function in Dysfunction.

Extracts from this document...


Finding the Function in Dysfunction In a token moment of Irish brogue, Phil Hogan vividly professes "Be God, look at you standing there with the club! If you ain't the damnedest daughter in Connecticut, who is (O'Neill 297)?" Without question, no statement could more clearly define the chaotic relationship between Phil and Josie Hogan in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten than this. The analysis of this parent-child relationship proves to be quite a paradox in nature, a love/hate bond of sorts between a father and his daughter. These two characters come to express their emotions in such crude terms that one would wonder about the functionality of their relationship, yet Phil and Josie seem strangely comfortable with this perpetual saga of slander and subtle jabs. However, the harsh reality of their interaction will in fact reveal the deeper meaning of Eugene O'Neill's chaotic life through dramatic means. The character of Josie Hogan carries a true aura of dominance wherever she goes. A strapping woman of unusual size and strength, Josie is everything her brothers--Mike, Thomas, and John--never were. Without question, the script of A Moon for the Misbegotten is full of awkward references to the blatantly obvious lack of Josie's femininity. Statements from her own father such as "To h**l with your temper, you overgrown cow!" ...read more.


Mike (out of reach-sullenly): You're two of a kind, and a bad kind. Josie (good naturedly): I'm proud of it. Without question the remark by Mike Hogan is blunt and quite rude, and Josie still defends her father despite the continual arguments and conflicts between them. She even goes so far as to say she is proud of their similarities, though all they can see is their differences when face to face. Conflicts stir the heart, and it is this aspect of the play that powers the desires of both Josie and Phil. There is certainly more than meets the eye to this trouble plagued relationship between father and daughter. A drunken, unrefined, lonely Irishman, Phil wishes nothing more than for his daughter to find happiness in marriage, although it would pain him to see her go. A rare glimpse of this loving sensitivity is seen when Phil says "Maybe he'd like a fine strong handsome figure of a woman for a change, with beautiful eyes and hair and teeth and a smile (O'Neill 300)." Though appreciative of her father's unusually gracious compliments, Josie can't stand to succumb to manners and return the polite gesture. Instead, Josie replies in a jeering manner "Thank you kindly for the compliments. Now I know a cow kicked you in the head (300)." ...read more.


The manner in which O'Neill bonds these two main characters together through a deceptive charade of degrading and disrespectful speech is a very unique approach to showing the love between them. That is exactly what the reader must not falsely identify in A Moon for the Misbegotten, because in fact their relationship is one of sincere care and compassion, although on the outside it is hard to see. While the mantra of yelling and griping holds true for much of the play, the dynamic aspect of the occasional sincere conversation makes the reader stop and realize that there is more to Phil and Josie Hogan than just being a pair of intolerable and unforgiving characters. Though the question of effectiveness may come into play about this creation of conflict in O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, you must also question the affect on the play without this aspect of the perfectly believable father/daughter relationship. In O'Neill's world, there is no room for courteous peddling when the subjects of family relationships arise, just as there was none for O'Neill himself. A Moon for the Misbegotten is a play expressing the hardships and losses of O'Neill's life, from the loss of his mother to the traumatic experience of losing his brother, Jamie. It is through Phil and Josie Hogan that we come to understand a look into Eugene O'Neill's mind's eye, and the play could surely not survive the test of time without their wonderfully crafted dysfunctional relationship. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Harold Pinter section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Harold Pinter essays

  1. Using the attatched passage, The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter, 1960, examine the similarities and ...

    In Pinter's words, 'The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear.' Unlike a normal conversation, Meg asks five times as many questions as Petey (38:8 approx.), mostly presenting a positive face to Petey. He accepts her offers, 'Here's your cornflakes', or 'I've got something else

  2. 'The Birthday Party' by Harold Pinter is a study of power- where it comes ...

    During this playwright everybody wants power and everybody wants to keep it. Only one person is clever enough too able this to happen. This person is Goldberg. I think Pinter is trying to make characters out of people he knows and I think he could be Stanley in this obvious attempt to show how to much power creates havoc.

  1. As well as being one of the most popular, The Homecoming (1965) has proved ...

    explode the dream of bourgeois marriage: if life in this grim North London household with the prospect of being forced into prostitution is, for Ruth, a pleasanter prospect than her previous married life, then how hellish that married life must have been.

  2. "The Caretaker" is either about nothing or everything! How far do you agree with ...

    I can describe none of them, except to say: That is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did." It is a minimalist play with only three characters, no real plot or obvious meaning that is all performed within a total unity of place in a single cramped room.

  1. Since its first production in 1965 by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Homecoming has ...

    a pause or silence to emphasise Ruth's supremacy and foreshadow her rise to a form of social, economic, and political authority and in certain aspects equality, but she does not achieve equality overall. The fixation and idealisation that the male characters associate with Ruth allow her to deploy her sexuality to gain power and territory.

  2. Contextualising the play - A Night Out by Harold Pinter

    Both countries had the capabilities to fire terrible weapons of mass destructions such as Atom bombs. It was a dangerous environment, and because Britain was in between the two countries, it was stuck in the middle. * Gus and Ben are hiding in the basement.

  1. Compare my devised thematic work to another play or other types of drama, which ...

    I believe a similar thing has been done with The Dumb Waiter; a slightly unrealistic side to the story lets the audience take it in more. Neither of the pieces have any set date, or period.

  2. Rationality and reality under absurdity - book report on The Dumb Waiter.

    Thus, the impossibility of verification becomes the only verity. w***y-nilly, that is exactly what Pinter has expected --- leaving his readers arguing with each other when they leave the theatre. And he did it. The seemingly absurdity doesn't equal irrationality and illogicality.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work