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Custom Alcoholism and Its Effect on the Family Essay

Within the Tyrone family, the role of love is of immense significance. The point is that love serves as a prerequisite for the Tyrones’ quarrels or fights; in other words, the love within this family manifests itself exactly through reciprocal accusations and reproaches, which altogether are based on the fervent striving for normal family life (including each member’s health, love, and welfare). To understand this standpoint better, it is essential to examine the relationships between all the four Tyrones. Mary accuses Tyrone of being stingy and not able to make her feel at home in his house. These accusations stem hardly from her egoism but her desire for her and her children’s health and happiness. Cheap medical care resulted into Eugene’s death and Mary’s addiction to morphine, which might have contributed to Edmund’s illness. Reproaching James on his stinginess, Mary mentions that she would receive other people happily, but all James likes “is to hobnob with men at the club or in a barroom” (41). Nevertheless, she loves his husband since she frequently remembers their first time together, mentioning that he was so handsome that she even rejected her future as a nun or concert pianist. Secondly, it is obvious that Edmund, James, and Jamie care and love Mary since their fights revolve around her addiction and they often beg her to stop shooting up. In the third place, Jamie fights with his father since the latter wants to send Edmund to a cheap sanatorium. What makes the matters worse is that Jamie is jealous of Edmund, who, as the youngest child, got and gets more mother’s attention. Finally, Mary is deeply concerned about all men’s alcohol addiction, which is balanced by her morphine addiction. The issue of alcoholism is crucial to the Tyrones’ family since it might have contributed to each member’s problems. Alcoholism is an acute problem for many contemporary families as well. According to Berger, “the spouse of an alcoholic may have feelings of hatred, self-pity, avoidance of social contacts, may suffer exhaustion and become physically or mentally ill”. These features are typical of all Tyrones, not only Mary. Furthermore, Wekesser (1994) names another negative effect of alcoholism – codependency – “an unconscious addiction to another person’s abnormal behavior”.  It is really normal for the Tyrones- men to drink or come home drunk and start fighting. It is a normal state of things and nothing can be done about it. Despite of each other’s addictions and flaws, the Tyrones cannot but love and care about each other. Therefore, it can be reasonably argued that human entanglements within the family exist due to the fact that family members are not indifferent to each other and care about mutual well-being. It should be born in mind that deep care and love does not presuppose positive emotions only; accusation and jealousy belong to this realm as well. In general, good family life is impossible without jealousy, blaming each other, and interdependence; contemporary families, however, are characterized by their members’ gradual estrangement. As every family member has his or her problems and experiences various pleasant and troublesome situations, negative and positive emotions are intrinsic to living with relatives at close quarters. Exactly in the family circle a person can give outlet to his or her feelings, without fear for misunderstanding. That is why it is a formidable challenge to any family to accept its members as they are, with all their weak and strong points. O’Neils Long Day's Journey Into Night depicts the most painful aspects of family life to teach us that even quarrels and fights between family members stand for mutual care since they are based on the concern about each other’s well-being.

The current problems of the Tyrone family are completely predetermined by their past. The role of the past in the play cannot be explained better than it is by Mary: “The things life had done to us we cannot excuse or explain. The past is the present. It is the future, too”. Mary is a morphine addict because the cheap doctor prescribed morphine for her after she gave birth to Edmund. Mary keeps blaming herself for Eugene’s death and Edmund’s consumption, and morphine helps her to forget about her guilt for some time. On one hand, the past is a burden for Mary. She blames herself for Eugene’s death: “It was my fault. I should have insisted on staying with Eugene and not let you [James] persuade me to join you…” This quotation is highly significant since it highlights such Mary’s feature as self-reproach, which only aggravates with the course of time. Furthermore, Eugene’s death is nothing than a deep psychological trauma so that Mary refuses to have another baby. Having given birth to Edmund, she keeps torturing herself severely: “I swore after Eugene died I would never have another baby … I never should have born Edmund”. On other hand, the past is a refuge since she escapes from the present problems to her girlhood. She remembers her dreams to become a concern pianist and a nun. For James, the past is also an excuse for his today’s life; he explains that he is stingy because, as a child, he worked hard to earn fifty cents a week. Besides, he regrets having traded his talent for wealth: “I could become a great Shakespearean actor, if I’d kept once”. However, he does not blame himself to such an extent as Mary does. Jamie’s whoring and drinking also stem from the past. A lack of mother’s attention and her obvious affection for Edmund made him extremely jealous; and Mary’s addiction contributed to the sense of a loss he feels (he compares his mother to a whore). Besides, he seems to suffer from oedipal complexes. Likewise, Mary claims that exactly the past has made Jamie a cynical drunkard and that he should not be blamed for that: “It’s wrong to blame your brother. He can’t help being what he past has made him. Any more than your father can or you or I”. Nevertheless, he is also capable of facing his past, admitting it, and telling Edmund directly that he wants to and will make him fail. Edmund, in turn, manages to cope with his family’s illusions and admit his real illness: “Mom! It isn’t a summer cold! I’ve got consumption!”. All in all, Edmund, James, and Jamie manage to relieve their burden by admitting their past experiences without blaming themselves, whereas Mary fails to accept the painful truth of present life and stop blaming herself, which makes her story even more tragic.

Custom Alcoholism and Its Effect on the Family Essay

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