Long Day’s Journey into Night

by

Eugene O’Neill

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Long Day’s Journey into Night can help.
The Fog Symbol Icon

Throughout Long Day’s Journey into Night, fog both troubles and soothes Mary, who sees it as something that ushers in isolation and loneliness. At the beginning of the play, she suggests that she’s troubled by the thick fog that enshrouds the Tyrones’ summer home each night, especially since the foghorn keeps her awake and rattles her nerves. However, her relationship with fog isn’t quite so simple. Indeed, although O’Neill uses the onset of fog to foreshadow Mary’s relapse, Mary herself claims at one point that the fog itself doesn’t bother her. “It’s the foghorn I hate,” she says. “It won’t let you alone. It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back.” This suggests that what Mary actually dislikes has nothing to do with the sound of the horn, but rather the fact that it “remind[s]” her that she can’t simply slip into the pure solitude of the fog, which is what she would really like to do. Indeed, fog is something that creeps between people and makes it impossible for them to see each other—something that appeals to Mary because she’d like to isolate herself from her present reality, thereby enabling herself to indulge her drug addiction without having to endure the scrutiny of her disappointed family. In this way, O’Neill uses the fog as a representation of the ways in which isolation and separation manifest themselves within personal relationships.

The Fog Quotes in Long Day’s Journey into Night

The Long Day’s Journey into Night quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Fog. 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 Three Quotes

Dreamily.
It wasn’t the fog I minded, Cathleen. I really love fog.

[…]

It hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you anymore.

[…]

It’s the foghorn I hate. It won’t let you alone. It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back.

She smiles strangely.

But it can’t tonight.

Related Characters: Mary Tyrone (speaker), Cathleen
Related Symbols: The Fog
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Four Quotes

The fog was where I wanted to be. Halfway down the path you can’t see this house. You’d never know it was here. Or any of the other places down the avenue. I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead. I didn’t meet a soul. Everything looked and sounded unreal. Noth­ing was what it is. That’s what I wanted—to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself. Out beyond the harbor, where the road runs along the beach, I even lost the feeling of being on land. The fog and the sea seemed part of each other. It was like walking on the bottom of the sea. As if I had drowned long ago. As if I was a ghost belonging to the fog, and the fog was the ghost of the sea. It felt damned peaceful to be nothing more than a ghost within a ghost.

He sees his father staring at him with mingled worry and irritated disapproval. He grins mockingly.

Don’t look at me as if I’d gone nutty. I’m talking sense. Who wants

to see life as it is, if they can help it?

Related Characters: Edmund Tyrone (speaker), James Tyrone, Mary Tyrone
Related Symbols: The Fog
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Long Day’s Journey into Night LitChart as a printable PDF.
Long Day’s Journey into Night PDF

The Fog Symbol Timeline in Long Day’s Journey into Night

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Fog appears in Long Day’s Journey into Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...does feel “out of sorts.” “I wasn’t able to get much sleep with that awful foghorn going all night long,” she says, expressing how glad she is that she fog seems... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...both to go about their business outside to “take advantage of the sunshine before the fog comes back.” Before the two men leave, Jamie tells his mother he’s proud of her... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Two
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
...been raised “in a real home.” Moving on, she notes that it’s going to be foggy again that night. “Oh, well,” she adds. “I won’t mind it tonight.”  (full context)
Act Three
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
...happy, chattering schoolgirl of her convent days.” As the scene opens, she comments on the foghorn, which bleats through the window. “Isn’t it awful, Cathleen?” she asks, and the drunken housekeeper... (full context)
Act Four
Love and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...he didn’t go uptown to find him. Rather, he walked along the beach in the fog. However, he admits that he did end up giving Jamie half his money, so it’s... (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
...He then recites a poem before launching into a brief monologue about walking through the fog. “The fog was where I wanted to be,” he says. “Halfway down the path you... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Denial, Blame, and Guilt Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
...is “the blank wall she builds around herself.” “Or it’s more like a bank of fog in which she hides and loses herself,” he says. “Deliberately, that’s the hell of it!... (full context)
Fatalism and Resignation Theme Icon
Loneliness, Isolation, and Belonging Theme Icon
The Past, Nostalgia, and Regret Theme Icon
...meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!” (full context)