Memory and Guilt: Parenting in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Memory and Guilt: Parenting in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County and Eugene O’Neill’s Long... Me M o ry a nd Guilt Parenting in t racy Letts's August: OsAge COunty and eugene O'neiLL's LOng DAy's JOurney IntO nIght Elizabeth Fifer How does a copy relate to its original? First it draws attention back. Questions about inspiration and originality blur the links between the two. Tracy Letts's August: Osage County (2008) does not try to replicate Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (written 1940­41; produced 1956), but his borrowings create the shiver of recognition: a family reunited, the exposing of hidden secrets and truths about characters, contrasts between the aspirations of one generation and the failure to realize them in the next, a doomed matriarch, a tragic patriarch. All this combines to create something not quite unexpected. In many ways the Westons in Letts's play echo and parallel the Tyrones in O'Neill's, written more than half a century earlier, as has been observed since the first production of the play. E. Teresa Choate writes that it is "blatantly derivative" of O'Neill's play, as well as "of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart."1 Edward Sobel, Steppenwolf http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Eugene O'Neill Review Penn State University Press

Memory and Guilt: Parenting in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Eugene O'Neill Review, Volume 34 (2) – Sep 11, 2013

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Penn State University Press
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Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University
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2161-4318
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Abstract

Me M o ry a nd Guilt Parenting in t racy Letts's August: OsAge COunty and eugene O'neiLL's LOng DAy's JOurney IntO nIght Elizabeth Fifer How does a copy relate to its original? First it draws attention back. Questions about inspiration and originality blur the links between the two. Tracy Letts's August: Osage County (2008) does not try to replicate Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (written 1940­41; produced 1956), but his borrowings create the shiver of recognition: a family reunited, the exposing of hidden secrets and truths about characters, contrasts between the aspirations of one generation and the failure to realize them in the next, a doomed matriarch, a tragic patriarch. All this combines to create something not quite unexpected. In many ways the Westons in Letts's play echo and parallel the Tyrones in O'Neill's, written more than half a century earlier, as has been observed since the first production of the play. E. Teresa Choate writes that it is "blatantly derivative" of O'Neill's play, as well as "of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart."1 Edward Sobel, Steppenwolf

Journal

Eugene O'Neill ReviewPenn State University Press

Published: Sep 11, 2013

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