Long Day’s Journey into Night
is a true embodiment of that saying “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Witnessing a day in the life of the Tyrone family is like watching an all day fencing match, every member of the family constantly challenging each other to verbal duels. Some of their cutting remarks are bitterly cruel, interlaced with a morbid sense of humor. It’s awful and wonderful at the same time.
Compounding the dark bitterness of the play are the subtle details and actions interspersed throughout, some of which I can even relate to. I just love the part when James Tyrone, Sr. says to his son, “The glare from those extra lights hurts my eyes. You don’t mind if I turn them out, do you? We don’t need them, and there’s no use making the Electric Company rich.” So bleak! But if you placed my grandfather in the same situation, he’d have probably said the same thing. ;)
The main reason why I love this play, though, is its personal nature. Nothing is hidden; all the secrets, personal ghosts and hypocrisy are slowly yet eloquently revealed. Each member of the Tyrone family through those awful verbal duels, in a way asks for forgiveness for their past deeds and actions. However, even though forgiveness is implied, by the play’s close, there doesn’t seem to be any real move toward making amends, the family too far gone and set in their ways to enact a real change to their personal debauching habits. It has a more bitterly ironic kind of ending.
This is truly a dark play, though it is masterfully done.