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
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.
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?