Symbolism is used throughout O¹Neill¹s Long Day¹s Journey into Night, a portrayal of the author¹s life. The three prominent symbols, the fog, the foghorn, and Mary¹s glasses,
represent the characters¹ isolation from reality. The symbols in ³Long Day¹s Journey into Night² are used to substitute illusion for reality. Although Mary is the character
directly associated with living in illusion, all characters in the play try to hide from
the truth in their own ways. At the beginning of the second act, O'Neill notes a change in
setting which has taken place since the play opened. No sunlight comes into the room now and there is a faint haziness in the air. This ...view middle of the document...
Even when confronted with
the truth (that the mother is using drugs), they all still try to act as if everything were
all right, to deny the reality and live in illusion. Mary¹s glasses symbolize her inability
to see things clearly. She frequently misplaces them, and really doesn¹t want to find them
because that would force her to face reality, which she desperately tries to hide from.
Hearing the mother moving around upstairs, Tyrone tells Edmund he shouldn't pay too much
attention to her tales of the past. The father says, "Remember she's not responsible," and
Edmund replies that it was the father's stinginess that's responsible. When Tyrone tells
Edmund to take the mother's comments about the past with a grain of salt, we see an example
of how two people can look at the same thing but "see" the thing very differently. The
mother considered her former home "wonderful," her father "noble," her convent days the
"happiest," her piano...