Mothers in Eugene O’Neill's Strange Interlude and Long Day’s Journey into Night

Asim Karim, Nasim Riaz Butt


Critical approaches to E. O’Neill address some of the important and recurrent questions that could be broadly referred as autobiography, psychological aspects, intellectual and literary kinship among other related subjects. From psychoanalytic perspectives, the studies carried on provide insight into his art and his creative process in the plays. There is a definite nexus of personal memories and the works of art that he shapes. Art, in fact, in his case, serves as a psychobiography that unravels his inner self specially related to mother and other family members in a sustained manner. However, this factor has also exposed him to diverse theoretical stances. Oedipal dynamism among others has variably been referred to as a peculiar component of his art and life. It is however, contended here that this factor involves complexity that no single theoretical position could adequately explain. The paper therefore adds Kleinian perspective on personality development and child-mother relation to highlight this complexity. It concludes that preoccupation with subjective experiences and peculiar nature of experiences explained in terms of both Freudian and Kleinian perspectives instruct O’Neill’s art with depressive and sadist outlook as well as create problems of representation for his art.

Key words: O’Neill’s plays autobiography, psychoanalysis, and representation

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