Рефераты. American Literature books summary

Tyrone and Mary make conversation, which leads to a brief argument

about Tyrone's tendency to spend money on real estate investing. They are

interrupted by the sound of Edmund, who is having a coughing fit in the

next room. Although Mary remarks that he merely has a bad cold, Tyrone's

body language indicates that he may know more about Edmund's sickness than

Mary. Nevertheless, Tyrone tells Mary that she must take care of herself

and focus on getting better rather than getting upset about Edmund. Mary

immediately becomes defensive, saying, "There's nothing to be upset about.

What makes you think I'm upset?" Tyrone drops the subject and tells Mary

that he is glad to have her "dear old self" back again.

Edmund and Jamie are heard laughing in the next room, and Tyrone

immediately grows bitter, assuming they are making jokes about him. Edmund

and Jamie enter, and we see that, even though he is just 23 years old,

Edmund is "plainly in bad health" and nervous. Upon entering, Jamie begins

to stare at his mother, thinking that she is looking much better. The

conversation turns spiteful, however, when the sons begin to make fun of

Tyrone's loud snoring, a subject about which he is sensitive, driving him

to anger. Edmund tells him to calm down, leading to an argument between the

two. Tyrone then turns on Jamie, attacking him for his lack of ambition and

laziness. To calm things down, Edmund tells a funny story about a tenant

named Shaughnessy on the Tyrone family land in Ireland, where the family's

origins lie. Tyrone is not amused by the anecdote, however, because he

could be the subject of a lawsuit related to ownership of the land. He

attacks Edmund again, calling his comments socialist. Edmund gets upsets

and exits in a fit of coughing. Jamie points out that Edmund is really

sick, a comment which Tyrone responds to with a "shut up" look, as though

trying to prevent Mary from finding out something. Mary tells them that,

despite what any doctor may say, she believes that Edmund has nothing more

than a bad cold. Mary has a deep distrust for doctors. Tyrone and Jamie

begin to stare at her again, making her self-conscious. Mary reflects on

her faded beauty, recognizing that she is in the stages of decline.

As Mary exits, Tyrone chastises Jamie for suggesting that Edmund really

may be ill in front of Mary, who is not supposed to worry during her

recovery from her addiction to morphine. Jamie and Tyrone both suspect that

Edmund has consumption (better known today as tuberculosis), and Jamie

thinks it unwise to allow Mary to keep fooling herself. Jamie and Tyrone

argue over Edmund's doctor, Doc Hardy, who charges very little for his

services. Jamie accuses Tyrone of getting the cheapest doctor, without

regard to quality, simply because he is a penny-pincher. Tyrone retorts

that Jamie always thinks the worst of everyone, and that Jamie does not

understand the value of a dollar because he has always been able to take

comfortable living for granted. Tyrone, by contrast, had to work his own

way up from the streets. Jamie only squanders loads of money on whores and

liquor in town. Jamie argues back that Tyrone squanders money on real

estate speculation, although Tyrone points out that most of his holdings

are mortgaged. Tyrone accuses Jamie of laziness and criticizes his failure

to succeed at anything. Jamie was expelled from several colleges in his

younger years, and he never shows any gratitude towards his father; Tyrone

thinks that he is a bad influence on Edmund. Jamie counters that he has

always tried to teach Edmund to lead a life different from that which Jamie


Act I, Part Two Tyrone and Jamie continue their discussion about

Edmund, who works for a local newspaper. Tyrone and Jamie have heard that

some editors dislike Edmund, but they both acknowledge that he has a strong

creative impulse that drives much of his plans. Tyrone and Jamie agree also

that they are glad to have Mary back. They resolve to help her in any way

possible, and they decide to keep the truth about Edmund's sickness from

her, although they realize that they will not be able to do so if Edmund

has to be committed to a sanatorium, a place where tuberculosis patients

are treated. Tyrone and Jamie discuss Mary's health, and Tyrone seems to be

fooling himself into thinking that Mary is healthier than she really is.

Jamie mentions that he heard her walking around the spare bedroom the night

before, which may be a sign that she is taking morphine again. Tyrone says

that it was simply his snoring that induced her to leave; he accuses Jamie

once again of always trying to find the worst in any given situation.

Between the lines, we begin to learn that Mary first became addicted to

morphine 23 years earlier, just after giving birth to Edmund. The birth was

particularly painful for her, and Tyrone hired a very cheap doctor to help

ease her pain. The economical but incompetent doctor prescribed morphine to

Mary, recognizing that it would solve her immediate pain but ignoring

potential future side effects, such as addiction. Thus we see that Tyrone's

stinginess (or prudence, as he would call it), has come up in the past, and

it will be referred to many more times during the course of the play.

Mary enters just as Tyrone and Jamie are about to begin a new

argument. Not wishing to upset her, they immediately cease and decide to go

outside to trim the hedges. Mary asks what they were arguing about, and

Jamie tells her that they were discussing Edmund's doctor, Doc Hardy. Mary

says she knows that they are lying to her. The two stare at her again

briefly before exiting, with Jamie telling her not to worry. Edmund then

enters in the midst of a coughing fit and tells Mary that he feels ill.

Mary begins to fuss over him, although Edmund tells her to worry about

herself and not him. Mary tells Edmund that she hates the house in which

they live because, "I've never felt it was my home." She puts up with it

only because she usually goes along with whatever Tyrone wants. She

criticizes Edmund and Jamie for "disgracing" themselves with loose women,

so that at present no respectable girls will be seen with them. Mary

announces her belief that Jamie and Edmund are always cruelly suspicious,

and she thinks that they spy on her. She asks Edmund to "stop suspecting

me," although she acknowledges that Edmund cannot trust her because she has

broken many promises in the past. She thinks that the past is hard to

forget because it is full of broken promises. The act ends with Edmund's

exit. Mary sits alone, twitching nervously.

Act II, Scene i The curtain rises again on the living room, where

Edmund sits reading. It is 12:45 pm on the same August day. Cathleen, the

maid, enters with whiskey and water for pre-lunch drinking. Edmund asks

Cathleen to call Tyrone and Jamie for lunch. Cathleen is chatty and flirty,

and tells Edmund that he is handsome. Jamie soon enters and pours himself a

drink, adding water to the bottle afterwards so that Tyrone will not know

they had a drink before he came in. Tyrone is still outside, talking to one

of the neighbors and putting on "an act" with the intent of showing off.

Jamie tells Edmund that Edmund may have a sickness more severe than a

simple case of malaria. He then chastises Edmund for leaving Mary alone all

morning. He tells him that Mary's promises mean nothing anymore. Jamie

reveals that he and Tyrone knew of Mary's morphine addiction as much as ten

years before they told Edmund.

Edmund begins a coughing fit as Mary enters, and she tells him not to

cough. When Jamie makes a snide comment about his father, Mary tells him to

respect Tyrone more. She tells him to stop always seeking out the

weaknesses in others. She expresses her fatalistic view of life, that most

events are somehow predetermined, that humans have little control over

their own lives. She then complains that Tyrone never hires any good

servants; she is displeased with Cathleen, and she blames her unhappiness

on Tyrone's refusal to hire a top-rate maid. At this point, Cathleen enters

and tells them that Tyrone is still outside talking. Edmund exits to fetch

him, and while he is gone, Jamie stares at Mary with a concerned look. Mary

asks why he is looking at her, and he tells her that she knows why.

Although he will not say it directly, Jamie knows that Mary is back on

morphine; he can tell by her glazed eyes. Edmund reenters and curses Jamie

when Mary, playing ignorant, tells him that Jamie has been insinuating

nasty things about her. Mary prevents an argument by telling Edmund to

blame no one. She again expresses her fatalist view: "[Jamie] can't help

what the past has made him. Any more than your father can. Or you. Or I."

Jamie shrugs off all accusations, and Edmund looks suspiciously at Mary.

Tyrone enters, and he argues briefly with his two sons about the

whiskey. They all have a large drink. Suddenly, Mary has an outburst about

Tyrone's failure to understand what a home is. Mary has a distinct vision

of a home, one that Tyrone has never been able to provide for her. She

tells him that he should have remained a bachelor, but then she drops the

subject so that they can begin lunch. However, she first criticizes Tyrone

for letting Edmund drink, saying that it will kill him. Suddenly feeling

guilty, she retracts her comments. Jamie and Edmund exit to the dining

room. Tyrone sits staring at Mary, then says that he has "been a God-damned

fool to believe in you." She becomes defensive and begins to deny Tyrone's

unspoken accusations, but he now knows that she is back on morphine. She

complains again of his drinking before the scene ends.

Act II, Scene ii The scene begins half an hour after the previous

scene. The family is returning from lunch in the dining room. Tyrone

appears angry and aloof, while Edmund appears "heartsick." Mary and Tyrone

argue briefly about the nature of the "home," although Mary seems somewhat

aloof while she speaks because she is on morphine. The phone rings, and

Tyrone answers it. He talks briefly with the caller and agrees on a meeting

at four o'clock. He returns and tells the family that the caller was Doc

Hardy, who wanted to see Edmund that afternoon. Edmund remarks that it

doesn't sound like good tidings. Mary immediately discredits everything Doc

Hardy has to say because she thinks he is a cheap quack whom Tyrone hired

only because he is inexpensive. After a brief argument, she exits upstairs.

After she is gone, Jamie remarks that she has gone to get more

morphine. Edmund and Tyrone explode at him, telling him not to think such

bad thoughts about people. Jamie counters that Edmund and Tyrone need to

face the truth; they are kidding themselves. Edmund tells Jamie that he is

too pessimistic. Tyrone argues that both boys have forgotten Catholicism,

the only belief that is not fraudulent. Jamie and Edmund both grow mad and

begin to argue with Tyrone. Tyrone admits that he does not practice

Catholicism strictly, but he claims that he prays each morning and each

evening. Edmund is a believer in Nietzsche, who wrote that "God is dead" in

Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He ends the argument, however, by resolving to

speak with Mary about the drugs, and he exits upstairs.

After Edmund leaves, Tyrone tells Jamie that Doc Hardy say that Edmund

has consumption, "no possible doubt." However, if Edmund goes to a

sanatorium immediately, he will be cured in six to 12 months. Jamie demands

that Tyrone send Edmund somewhere good, not somewhere cheap. Jamie says

that Tyrone thinks consumption is necessarily fatal, and therefore it is

not worth spending money on trying to cure Edmund since he is guaranteed to

die anyway. Jamie correctly argues that consumption can be cured if treated

properly. He decides to go with Tyrone and Edmund to the doctor that

afternoon then exits.

Mary reenters as Jamie leaves, and she tells Tyrone that Jamie would

be a good son if he had been raised in a "real" home as Mary envisions it.

She tells Tyrone not to give Jamie any money because he will use it only to

but liquor. Tyrone bitterly implies that Mary and her drug use is enough to

make any man want to drink. Mary dodges his accusation with denials, but

she asks Tyrone not to leave her alone that afternoon because she gets

lonely. Tyrone responds that Mary is the one who "leaves," referring to her

mental aloofness when she takes drugs. Tyrone suggests that Mary take a

ride in the new car he bought her, which to Tyrone's resentment does not

often get used (he sees it as another waste of money). Mary tells him that

he should not have bought her a second-hand car. In any case, Mary argues

that she has no one to visit in the car, since she has not had any friends

since she got married. She alludes briefly to a scandal involving Tyrone

and a mistress at the beginning of their marriage, and this event caused

many of her friends to abandon her. Tyrone tells Mary not to dig up the

past. Mary changes the subject and tells Tyrone that she needs to go to the


Delving into the past, Mary tells Tyrone the story of getting addicted

to morphine when Edmund was born. She implicitly blames Tyrone for her

addiction because he would only pay for a cheap doctor who knew of no

better way to cure her childbirth pain. Tyrone interrupts and tells her to

forget the past, but Mary replies, "Why? How can I? The past is the

present, isn't it? It's the future too. We all try to lie out of that but

life won't let us." Mary blames herself for breaking her vow never to have

another baby after Eugene, her second baby who died at two years old from

measles he caught from Jamie after Jamie went into the baby's room. Tyrone

tells Mary to let the dead baby rest in peace, but Mary only blames herself

more for not staying with Eugene (her mother was babysitting when Jamie

gave Eugene measles), and instead going on the road to keep Tyrone company

as he traveled the country with his plays. Tyrone had later insisted that

Mary have another baby to replace Eugene, and so Edmund was born. But Mary

claimed that from the first day she could tell that Edmund was weak and

fragile, as though God intended to punish her for what happened to Eugene.

Edmund reenters after Mary's speech, and he asks Tyrone for money,

which Tyrone grudgingly produces. Edmund is genuinely thankful, but then he

gets the idea that Tyrone may regret giving him money because Tyrone thinks

that Edmund will die and the money will be wasted. Tyrone is greatly hurt

by this accusation, and Edmund suddenly feels very guilty for what he said.

He and his father make amends briefly before Mary furiously tells Edmund

not to be so morbid and pessimistic. She begins to cry, and Tyrone exits to

get ready to go to the doctor with Edmund. Mary again criticizes Doc Hardy

and tells Edmund not to see him. Edmund replies that Mary needs to quit the

morphine, which puts Mary on the defensive, denying that she still uses and

then making excuses for herself. She admits that she lies to herself all

the time, and she says that she can "no longer call my soul my own." She

hopes for redemption one day through the Virgin. Jamie and Tyrone call

Edmund, and he exits. Mary is left alone, glad that they are gone but

feeling "so lonely."


The scene opens as usual on the living room at 6:30 pm, just before

dinner time. Mary and Cathleen are alone in the room; Cathleen, at Mary's

invitation, has been drinking. Although they discuss the fog, it is clear

that Cathleen is there only to give Mary a chance to talk to someone. They

discuss briefly Tyrone 's obsession with money, and then Mary refuses to

admit to Edmund's consumption. Mary delves into her past memories of her

life and family. As a pious Catholic schoolgirl, she says that she never

liked the theater; she did not feel "at home" with the theater crowd. Mary

then brings up the subject of morphine, which we learn Cathleen gets for

her from the local drugstore. Mary is becoming obsessed with her hands,

which used to be long and beautiful but have since deteriorated. She

mentions that she used to have two dreams: to become a nun and to become a

famous professional pianist. These dreams evaporated, however, when she met

Tyrone and fell in love. She met Tyrone after seeing him in a play. He was

friends with her father, who introduced the two. And she maintains that

Tyrone is a good man; in 36 years of marriage, he has had not one

extramarital scandal.

Cathleen then exits to see about dinner, and Mary slowly becomes

bitter as she recalls more memories. She thinks of her happiness before

meeting Tyrone. She thinks that she cannot pray anymore because the Virgin

will not listen to a dope fiend. She decides to go upstairs to get more

drugs, but before she can do so, Edmund and Tyrone return.

They immediately recognize upon seeing her that she has taken a large

dose of morphine. Mary tells them that she is surprised they returned,

since it is "more cheerful" uptown. The men are clearly drunk, and in fact

Jamie is still uptown seeing whores and drinking. Mary says that Jamie is a

"hopeless failure" and warns that he will drag down Edmund with him out of

jealousy. Mary talks more about the bad memories from the past, and Tyrone

laments that he even bothered to come home to his dope addict of a wife.

Tyrone decides to pay no attention to her. Mary meanwhile waxes about

Jamie, who she thinks was very smart until he started drinking. Mary blames

Jamie's drinking on Tyrone, calling the Irish stupid drunks, a comment

which Tyrone ignores.

Mary's tone suddenly changes as she reminisces about meeting Tyrone.

Tyrone then begins to cry as he thinks back on the memories, and he tells

his wife that he loves her. Mary responds, "I love you dear, in spite of

everything." But she regrets marrying him because he drinks so much. Mary

says she will not forget, but she will try to forgive. She mentions that

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