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Family as Destiny in ONeills Long Day's Journey into Night - Essay Example

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This essay combines Paul Watzlawick’s Interactional View Theory and Sigmund Freud’s Psychological Theory to understand family dynamics and effects in the book "Long Day's Journey into the Night". The idea of the essay is that the family can affect people’s destiny…
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Family as Destiny in ONeills Long Days Journey into Night
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"Family as Destiny in ONeills Long Day's Journey into Night"

Download file to see previous pages Family affects people because it influences their identities. Parents impact how their children develop their identities through their communication patterns. Because Mary dotes on Edmund more than Jamie, she affects their identities in different ways. She expresses her anger for Doctor Hardy’s advice for Edmund: “How dare Doctor Hardy to advise such a thing without consulting me! How dare your father allow him! What right has he? You are my baby! Let him attend to Jamie!” (O’Neill 111). This exasperation must have hurt Jamie because it only emphasizes that Edmund is their mother’s favorite. In Watzlawick’s Interactional View Theory, intentionality affects communication goals (Penna, Mocci, and Sechi 31). Mary’s intention is to protect Edmund, and in doing so, her main goal is to express her love for him. She does not want to intentionally hurt Jamie’s feelings, but because her primary intention is to protect Edmund from harm, her sensitivity to Jamie is inferior to her goal of sheltering Edmund. In addition, because of repression of innermost bitterness and regrets, Mary tends to be harsh on Jamie. She tells him: “It's you who should have more respect! Stop sneering at your father! I won't have it! You ought to be proud you're his son! He may have his faults. Who hasn’t?” (O’Neill 53). She does not use the same language and tone on Edmund, which separates her more from Jamie. As a result, Jamie becomes an alcoholic and womanizer because he wants to forget this painful truth of his mother’s greater love for Edmund than him. In addition, James does not act like a strong father who can inspire his children to change. He is an alcoholic, but not as worse as Jamie. He tells Edmund: “No. All we can do is try to be resigned – again” (O’Neill 124). The way that James says it, he shows his weakness as a man resigned to his fate. In Watzlawick’s Interactional View Theory, the relationship of how he says it impacts his belief about his family. His fate is connected to being married to a broken woman and being ruled over by her bitterness. Her bitterness shapes his bitterness too. These communication ways signify that families can be an overwhelming force in people’s destiny. Moreover, parents influence their children’s identities through their actions. Mary does not hide her unhappiness from her family through her repetitive heroin addiction. Her addiction is her defense against painful memories: “That's what makes it so hard – for all of us. We can't forget” (O’Neill 39). She cannot forget her dead child and her belief that her life might have been better if she had been a nun. As a result, her addiction shapes the addiction of her children through teaching them to not forget too. Moreover, open communication does not exist in the Tyrone and this affects their actions. Silence indicates people’s underlying intentions. Mary kisses Edmund, and her tenderness erases Edmund’s doubts. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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