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Irish-American Identity in Eugene O'Neill's Early Plays

Irish-American Identity in Eugene O'Neill's Early Plays <p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>This article examines Irish-American identity in Eugene O&apos;Neill&apos;s early work, including his "lost" plays. It demonstrates that characters such as Al Devlin in <i>The Movie Man</i>, Joe and Nellie Murray in <i>Abortion</i>, Eileen Carmody and Stephen Murray from <i>The Straw</i>, Robert "Yank" Smith in <i>The Hairy Ape</i>, and even the "Papist" child Mary Sweeney in <i>The Rope</i> are socially marginalized by American WASPs due to their Irish Catholic backgrounds. In the case of Yank such marginalization eventually convinces him that he is too "animalistic" to find a place in mainstream American society. Like Yank, the Irish-American characters in the other plays being examined find it hard to connect with (or are brutally disrespected by) the WASPs in their lives. Previous discussions of WASP/Irish-American tensions in O&apos;Neill&apos;s work have focused primarily on O&apos;Neill&apos;s late masterpieces; this article demonstrates that such tensions are a key feature of O&apos;Neill&apos;s early work as well.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Eugene O'Neill Review Penn State University Press

Irish-American Identity in Eugene O&apos;Neill&apos;s Early Plays

Eugene O'Neill Review , Volume 39 (1) – Apr 24, 2018

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University
ISSN
2161-4318

Abstract

<p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>This article examines Irish-American identity in Eugene O&apos;Neill&apos;s early work, including his "lost" plays. It demonstrates that characters such as Al Devlin in <i>The Movie Man</i>, Joe and Nellie Murray in <i>Abortion</i>, Eileen Carmody and Stephen Murray from <i>The Straw</i>, Robert "Yank" Smith in <i>The Hairy Ape</i>, and even the "Papist" child Mary Sweeney in <i>The Rope</i> are socially marginalized by American WASPs due to their Irish Catholic backgrounds. In the case of Yank such marginalization eventually convinces him that he is too "animalistic" to find a place in mainstream American society. Like Yank, the Irish-American characters in the other plays being examined find it hard to connect with (or are brutally disrespected by) the WASPs in their lives. Previous discussions of WASP/Irish-American tensions in O&apos;Neill&apos;s work have focused primarily on O&apos;Neill&apos;s late masterpieces; this article demonstrates that such tensions are a key feature of O&apos;Neill&apos;s early work as well.</p>

Journal

Eugene O'Neill ReviewPenn State University Press

Published: Apr 24, 2018

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