Significance of Fog in Long Day's Journey into Night Eugene by O'Neill

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Long Days Journey: The Significance of Fog (8)

A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, by Eugene O’Neill, is a deeply autobiographical play. His life was rampant with confusion and addictions in his family. Each character in this play has a profound resemblance, and draws parallels and connections with a member of his own family. The long journey that the title of the play refers to is a journey into his past. Fog is a recurring metaphor in the play; it is a physical presence even before it becomes a crucial symbol of the family’s impenetrable confusion. It is referred to in the text as well as stage directions in this play. It sets the mood for the play in all its somber hues.
He uses the fog outside the house as an atmospheric element that
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There’s no fog in the harbor. I’m sure the spell of it we’ve had is over” (O’Neill 736). The introductory image establishes the fog as both the intermediary and a symbol of Mary’s addiction. The fog is easily identifiable as Mary’s morphine high, representative of her cloudy mental state. Mary sinks back into her addiction as the night falls and slowly regresses further away from reality and her family. The fog signifies the state of mind that she is in. Fog has a dense and opaque quality that creates low visibility and blocks out the sun. The fog described in the stage directions is “…as a white curtain drawn down outside the windows” (O’Neill 773).
Mary tells Cathleen how she loves the fog, which can be interpreted as her love for the morphine that removes her from any type of coherence. Mary was on a path to recovery and now has slowly lapsed into her state of addiction once again. She likes this state because “ It hides you from the world and the world from you. No one can find or touch you any more” (O’Neill 773). For Mary, this fog is representative as an alternative or refuge from reality. Her relapse into addition causes clouds her judgment and impairs her sight. She can hide herself in the fog so that her family can be oblivious to her addiction.
“Mary, however, is not alone among the “fog people” – the three men also have their reasons for withdrawing into night” (Brustein 1021). Each of these men is haunted by his individual past and this
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