Long Day’s Journey into Night

by

Eugene O’Neill

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Jamie Tyrone Character Analysis

James and Mary’s eldest son. Jamie is a thirty-three-year-old failed actor who spends the majority of his time drinking and living the raucous lifestyle on offer in New York’s Broadway theater scene. Like his father, he is a talented thespian, but he doesn’t have the discipline that James applied to his own craft. As such, he frequently returns to live with his parents, which is why he’s currently staying in their summer home. When Mary begins taking morphine again, Jamie is the first to know, and he immediately becomes pessimistic and harsh about the matter, wanting his family to acknowledge her relapse and recognize that she can’t be helped. Because of this, he often finds himself at odds with Edmund, who wants to believe their mother might find the willpower to stop using the drug. At the end of the play, Jamie offends Edmund by speaking badly about their mother, and Edmund punches him in the face. In response, he simply thanks his brother for knocking sense into him. He then warns Edmund—because he’s drunk enough to admit it—that he should be wary of him. Insisting that he loves his younger brother, he confesses that he thinks he purposefully brought him down to his own level by showing him the lifestyle of an alcoholic. This, it seems, most likely has to do with the fact that Mary blames Jamie for the death of Eugene, who died as a baby before Edmund was born. Not wanting to pale in comparison to Edmund, then, he has sabotaged the young man’s life (though it’s worth noting that this seems less like a confession and more like an internalization of his parents’ disapproval).

Jamie Tyrone Quotes in Long Day’s Journey into Night

The Long Day’s Journey into Night quotes below are all either spoken by Jamie Tyrone or refer to Jamie Tyrone. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Yale edition of Long Day’s Journey into Night published in 1987.
Act One Quotes

TYRONE
You’re a fine lunkhead! Haven’t you any sense? The one thing to avoid is saying anything that would get her more upset over Edmund.

JAMIE
Shrugging his shoulders.
All right. Have it your way. I think it’s the wrong idea to let Mama go on kidding herself. It will only make the shock worse when she has to face it. Anyway, you can see she’s deliberately fooling herself with that summer cold talk. She knows better.

Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

You’ve been the worst influence for him. He grew up admiring you as a hero! A fine example you set him! If you ever gave him advice except in the ways of rottenness, I’ve never heard of it! You made him old before his time, pumping him full of what you consider worldly wisdom, when he was too young to see that your mind was so poisoned by your own failure in life, you wanted to believe every man was a knave with his soul for sale, and every woman who wasn’t a whore was a fool!

Related Characters: James Tyrone (speaker), Edmund Tyrone, Jamie Tyrone
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Yes, this time you can see how strong and sure of herself she is. She’s a different woman entirely from the other times. She has control of her nerves—or she had until Edmund got sick. Now you can feel her growing tense and frightened underneath. I wish to God we could keep the truth from her, but we can’t if he has to be sent to a sanatorium. What makes it worse is her father died of consumption. She worshiped him and she’s never forgotten. Yes, it will be hard for her. But she can do it! She has the will power now! We must help her, Jamie, in every way we can!

Related Characters: James Tyrone (speaker), Mary Tyrone, Edmund Tyrone, Jamie Tyrone
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene One Quotes

Because he’s always sneering at someone else, always looking for the worst weakness in everyone.

Then with a strange, abrupt change to a detached, impersonal tone.

But I suppose life has made him like that, and he can’t help it. None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.

Related Characters: Mary Tyrone (speaker), James Tyrone, Edmund Tyrone, Jamie Tyrone
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

Oh, I’m so sick and tired of pretending this is a home! You won’t help me! You won’t put yourself out the least bit! You don’t know how to act in a home! You don’t really want one! You never have wanted one—never since the day we were married! You should have remained a bachelor and lived in second-rate hotels and entertained your friends in barrooms!

She adds strangely, as if she were now talking aloud to herself rather than to Tyrone.

Then nothing would ever have happened.

They stare at her. Tyrone knows now. He suddenly looks a tired, bitterly sad old man.

Related Characters: Mary Tyrone (speaker), James Tyrone, Edmund Tyrone, Jamie Tyrone
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

You’re to blame, James. How could you let him? Do you want to kill him? Don’t you remember my father? He wouldn’t stop after he was stricken. He said doctors were fools! He thought, like you, that whiskey is a good tonic!

A look of terror comes into her eyes and she stammers.

But, of course, there’s no comparison at all. I don’t know why I—Forgive me for scolding you, James. One small drink won’t hurt Edmund. It might be good for him, if it gives him an appetite.

Related Characters: Mary Tyrone (speaker), James Tyrone, Edmund Tyrone, Jamie Tyrone
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Two Quotes

The family are returning from lunch as the curtain rises. Mary is the first to enter from the back par­lor. Her husband follows. He is not with her as he was in the similar entrance after breakfast at the opening of Act One. He avoids touching her or looking at her. There is condemnation in his face, mingled now with the beginning of an old weary, helpless resignation. Jamie and Edmund follow their father. Jamie’s face is hard with defensive cyni­cism. Edmund tries to copy this defense but without success. He plainly shows he is heartsick as well as physically ill.

Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

TYRONE
You ought to be kicked out in the gutter! But if I did it, you know damned well who’d weep and plead for you, and excuse you and complain till I let you come back.

JAMIE
A spasm of pain crosses his face.
Christ, don’t I know that? No pity? I have all the pity in the world for her. I understand what a hard game to beat she’s up against— which is more than you ever have! My lingo didn’t mean I had no feeling. I was merely putting bluntly what we all know, and have to live with now, again.

Bitterly.

The cures are no damned good except for a while. The truth is there is no cure and we’ve been saps to hope—

Cynically

They never come back!

Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Four Quotes

I suppose it’s because I feel so damned sunk. Because this time Mama had me fooled. I really believed she had it licked. She thinks I always believe the worst, but this time I believed the best.

His voice flutters.

I suppose I can’t forgive her—yet. It meant so much. I’d begun to hope, if she’d beaten the game, I could, too.

He begins to sob, and the horrible part of his weeping is that it appears sober, not the maudlin tears of drunkenness.

Related Characters: Jamie Tyrone (speaker), Edmund Tyrone
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

Did it on purpose to make a bum of you. Or part of me did. A big part. That part that’s been dead so long. That hates life. My putting you wise so you’d learn from my mistakes. Believed that myself at times, but it’s a fake. Made my mistakes look good. Made getting drunk romantic. Made whores fascinating vampires instead of poor, stupid, diseased slobs they really are. Made fun of work as sucker’s game. Never wanted you succeed and make me look even worse by comparison. Wanted you to fail. Always jealous of you. Mama’s baby, Papa’s pet!

He stares at Edmund with increasing enmity.

And it was your being born that started Mama on dope. I know that’s not your fault, but all the same, God damn you, I can’t help hating your guts — !

Related Characters: Jamie Tyrone (speaker), James Tyrone, Mary Tyrone, Edmund Tyrone
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:
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Long Day’s Journey into Night PDF

Jamie Tyrone Character Timeline in Long Day’s Journey into Night

The timeline below shows where the character Jamie Tyrone appears in Long Day’s Journey into Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...this, James fixates on the idea that his sons are laughing at him, suggesting that Jamie must have told a mean joke. “Now don’t start in on poor Jamie, dear,” Mary... (full context)
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Jamie and Edmund finally enter. Jamie is thirty-three and resembles his father, but his appearance is... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Edmund and Mary talk about the fact that James is a loud snorer, and Jamie agrees, saying, “The Moor, I know his trumpet.” Defensively, James replies, “If it takes my... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Uninterested in the family’s blossoming argument, Jamie says, “Let’s forget it,” but James immediately jumps down his throat, saying, “Yes, forget! Forget... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
As Jamie laughs with the others at Edmund’s story, James turns on him and tells him to... (full context)
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“You’re a fine lunkhead!” James says to Jamie when Mary leaves. “The one thing to avoid is saying anything that would get her... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Pained to hear his brother might have consumption, Jamie says that this might never have happened if James had sent Edmund to a “real... (full context)
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When James starts to argue against Jamie’s accusations of his cheapness, Jamie tells him to stop, saying he knows he “can’t change... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Jamie tells James not to “drag up” “ancient history,” but James upholds that it’s not “ancient... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...on the fact that his father is speaking about Edmund as if he’s a goner, Jamie begins to talk about the power of modern medicine. Before he can finish, his father... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
After a moment, Jamie says, “That’s a rotten accusation, Papa. You know how much the Kid means to me.”... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...James remarks that his son has been doing well working for the local newspaper, but Jamie instantly says, “A hick town rag! Whatever bull they hand you, they tell me he’s... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...to cope with the bad news if Edmund does indeed have consumption. “Of course, Papa,” Jamie says. “Outside of nerves, she seems perfectly all right this morning.” Immediately, James asks why... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...and down, going to his room to see how he was,” James says, to which Jamie replies, “It was her being in the spare room that scared me. I couldn’t help... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Despite his outbreak, James considers the story Jamie has just told him, saying, “It would be like a curse [Mary] can’t escape if... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Suddenly, Jamie shushes his father because Mary has entered the room. “Well,” he says as a cover-up,... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
On his way out, Jamie apologizes for telling Mary to be careful, and then he and James exit. Once alone,... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...why she’s never been able to have friends. She also believes it’s why Edmund and Jamie have never been able to entertain respectable women—they don’t have a presentable home. In response,... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Edmund tells Mary that he, Jamie, and James do trust her, but that they worry about her. Still, she laments the... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...to take a nap.” He then goes outside to lie in the shade and watch Jamie work. Once he’s gone, Mary sits and drums her fingers against the armrest before leaning... (full context)
Act Two, Scene One
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...of the housekeepers, enters with a bottle of whiskey. After Edmund tells her to fetch Jamie and James for lunch, she guesses aloud that he’ll sneak a drink before they arrive.... (full context)
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Looking at the whiskey, Jamie—who was not followed inside by his father—says, “Sneaking one, eh?” Smiling, Edmund admits that he... (full context)
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“Where’s Mama?” Jamie asks, suddenly looking about himself. When Edmund tells him that Mary is upstairs, Jamie is... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
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The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
 “Listen, Kid,” Jamie says, “I know you think I’m a cynical bastard, but remember I’ve seen a lot... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...brighter. In fact, he doesn’t even notice the “detachment in her voice and manner” that Jamie immediately picks up on. When he asks if she feels rested, she says, “Yes, ever... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
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Jamie makes a joke at his father’s expense, and Mary chastises him for not respecting James... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
As Edmund, Jamie, and Mary wait for James, they grow impatient. Mary, for her part, goes on a... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Edmund gets up and goes to summon James. Meanwhile, Jamie stares resentfully at Mary, who asks him why he’s looking at her so menacingly. “Oh,... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...isn’t it, Mama?” “What is a lie?” Mary responds. “Now you’re talking in riddles like Jamie.” Then, when she looks up at him, she says, “Edmund! Don’t!” As James walks up... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Entering, James apologizes for being late, claiming that Captain Turner wouldn’t stop talking. Without turning, Jamie can tell his father is examining the whiskey. “It’s all right,” he says. “The level... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...asks what’s wrong. “Why are you wearing that gloomy look on your mug?” he asks Jamie, who says, “You won’t be singing a song yourself soon.” At this moment, Mary—who had... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Two
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
“Another shot in the arm!” Jamie says once his mother has gone upstairs, and Edmund tells him to “cut out that... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Edmund scolds Jamie for his pessimistic attitude. In turn, Jamie says that Edmund isn’t so optimistic himself, pointing... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...stop,” he says. “I’m going to talk to her.” “You can’t talk to her now,” Jamie says, and his father agrees, adding, “Every day from now on, there’ll be the same... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
“What did Doc Hardy say about the Kid?” Jamie asks his father once they’re alone. When his father tells him that Edmund does indeed... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
After their conversation about the sanatorium, Jamie and James decide that Jamie ought to accompany Edmund to Hardy’s, though James warns him... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...to stop him, saying she doesn’t want to be alone. She then says she’s glad Jamie’s accompanying Edmund to Hardy’s, though she knows he’ll be drunk when he returns—which, she points... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...on the road, because you wrote telling me you missed me and were so lonely, Jamie would never have been allowed, when he still had measles, to go in the baby’s... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...leaves, Mary tells him not to give any of the money James lent him to Jamie, who will spend it on alcohol. She then asks him to promise to refrain from... (full context)
Act Three
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...husband to have some whiskey and generally babbling in drugged excitement. Eventually, she notices that Jamie hasn’t come home, and says, “I’m afraid Jamie has been lost to us for a... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Ignoring James and Edmund, Mary talks about how Jamie has grown up to “disgrace” the family. At the same time, though, she says it’s... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
...bottle of whiskey, and she tells him that Edmund most likely left to go find Jamie uptown. Then, breaking down, she says, “Oh, James, I’m so frightened! I know he’s going... (full context)
Act Four
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...be sooner as later!” Laughing, Edmund says, “You’re a wonder, Papa.” James then asks where Jamie is, but Edmund doesn’t know because he didn’t go uptown to find him. Rather, he... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...poem about a man sleeping with an overweight prostitute. This, he jokes, is probably what Jamie is reciting now as he himself sleeps with a prostitute. And though James finds some... (full context)
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Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Edmund and his father hear Jamie stumbling onto the porch. Wanting to avoid unnecessary arguments, James decides to step out as... (full context)
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The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
Jamie hypothesizes that the only reason he spoke so insultingly about Mary is because he’s so... (full context)
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After Jamie makes this confession, he dozes off, at which point James sneaks back inside and pours... (full context)
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Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...as naturally belonging there but which she is too preoccupied to notice.” “The Mad Scene,” Jamie says in a scathing tone. “Enter Ophelia!” Both Edmund and James whirl to face him—horrified—and... (full context)
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
As if to herself, Mary speaks over Jamie’s sobs, saying, “I play so badly now. I’m all out of practice. Sister Theresa will... (full context)
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...aimlessly through the room, James shouts her name, desperately trying to get her attention, but Jamie tells him there’s no use. “Something I miss terribly,” Mary continues. “It can’t be altogether... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
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As this scene unfolds, Jamie periodically recites poetry, which his father finds morbid. “Oh, we’re fools to pay any attention,”... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
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...As Mary stares out into “a sad dream,” James “stirs in his chair,” Edmund and Jamie sit still, and the curtain closes. (full context)