Comparison Of Eugene O'neill's "Long Days Journey Into Night" And Ralf Ellison's "Invisible Man"

1424 words - 6 pages

Henry David Thoreau stated, " The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." The quiet desperation that Thoreau speaks of is the drive from within to be something more and yet be almost nothing at all. He believes that to obtain personal success that you must separate yourself from society and civilization. Men who are not at this stage in life where they are free from the society that binds you are secretly desperate to break from the norm and are really unhappy with their lives, even though they may seem perfectly happy. Both Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day Journey into Night" and Ralf Ellison's "Invisible Man" expresses this theory through the lives of the characters in each of the novels.In the novel "A Long Day's Journey into Night," the characters are very well drawn out for the reader. You see each member of the family as an individual with their own outlooks and ideas on life. Mary is a loving wife and mother and a morphine addict, Tyronne is an old actor who loves his wife very much, Jamie is a son of Mary and Tyronne who has a preconception that people will judge him if they see him doing yard work and loves to drink, and Edmund, another son of Mary and Tyrone, is very intelligent but also loves to drink.With all of these individual traits, they still all have some underlying things in common with each other. One is that they all have a vice, some kind of addiction that they cannot break. Mary's is the most obvious. Her addiction to morphine is the most visible. Her hands shake and she visibly shows signs of an addiction. Tyronne, on the other hand has two addictions. His addiction to Real Estate is somewhat different that Mary's addiction to morphine because it is not a physical addiction that you could see. The incessant buying of Real Estate makes him feel important and one above the rest of the community. He is constantly buying Real Estate and trying to make the "buy of a life time." On top of this addiction, he is an alcoholic. To him alcohol can cure all problems from stress to real health problems. Alcoholism carried down to Edmund and Jaime. They both drink uncontrollably to try to cope with lives problems and, like Tyronne, feel that it is a cure.All of these problems, as visible as they may seem, is what keeps the family in quiet desperation. They never talk about or accept any of their problems. Mary's morphine addiction, although thought about a lot, is never directly made a verbal issue. They all know the problem exists but never really say it out loud. In the beginning of Act One, Mary tells Edmund that she is going to go upstairs and take a nap and with out Edmund mentioning the anything about the possibility of using morphine, she starts to accuse him of not trusting her. Then, in Act Two Scene One, Jaime finds out that Edmund let Mary go upstairs by herself. He starts to question the fact that she is really taking a nap. However, Edmund makes excuses for her and that is basically the end of the conversation. There are no...

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