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The Broken Mirror of Motherhood Myth: Long Day’s Journey into Night

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2012, 25(3), pp.199-225
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Chae, Su-gyung 1

1강릉원주대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In his play Long Day’s Journey into Night, Eugene O’Neill represents a female character who is called “mad Ophelia” by her son. “Mad Ophelia” is a code phrase which compresses the status of a woman within the play. The heroine Mary has been sacrificed in a patriarchal family. She is dissociated by her oppressive surroundings, in which she is expected to function as an object merely reflecting the desires of the men in her family. Since she had her own home, she has become the object not only of her husband but of her sons’ desires as well. They want her as the mirror of the motherhood myth to make themselves larger. Because the magic mirror has begun to crack, Mary is no longer able to satisfy their expectations and they blame her, feeling its loss. The reason why Mary has been severely criticized by many critics is that she is not able to play the role of the mirror of motherhood myth that male characters desire in a patriarchy. The playwright also projects his masculine perspectives throughout the play. Therefore, the reader/the audience needs to critically reread the traditional work of the canonical male writer with the attitude of the “resisting reader/audience” who rejects male-centered ideologies. Such a feminine reading will change ‘long day’s journey into night’ in a patriarchal society into the incipient light of day in the future.

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