While she is there, she indulges in promiscuous behavior with the patients as a way of making up for the self-denial that she and Gordon had imposed on themselves. Bogard, Travis, Contour in Time: The Plays of Eugene O'Neill, Oxford University Press, 1972, p. 297.
Strange Interlude was a controversial play because it dealt openly with such topics as adultery and abortion. The economic boom ended suddenly with the unexpected stock market crash of October 29, 1929, a day known as Black Thursday. The adoptive father of a young woman is horrified to learn she plans to marry the son of the man who accidentally killed her aunt years before.
FURTHER READING What she seeks is that father with the stain of his guilt removed. But in her case this comes not through some deliberate act of detached contemplation—the Eastern ideal—but when desire simply exhausts itself, leaving behind it only a longing for rest and peace.
111–16. Nina then deliberately has a child by Darrell and raises it as if it were Sam's son. Yet Nina has also throughout the play protested her rejection of fathers and father figures. The convention is that the character always speaks the truth as he or she understands it.
O'Neill continued to write as he attended Harvard University from 1914 to 1915, during which time he completed one year of George Pierce Baker's playwriting course. The character in the play who most embodies desire is Nina Leeds. O'Neill knows that Strange Interlude is heavy with suspense, and for this reason he throws overboard most of the devices by which dramatists usually create it. The story is not especially complex, and the length of the play derives from O'Neill's revival of two theatrical devices that had fallen out of use for nearly a century: the soliloquy, in which a character alone on the stage speaks his or her thoughts aloud, and the aside, which enables characters to reveal their thoughts to the audience but not to the other characters on stage. The play covers a period of twenty-five years in the lives of mostly upper-middle-class East Coast characters.
This comes at the end of act 6, shortly after the birth of her child, when her husband, her lover and her older admirer (Marsden) all desire her, and when she believes she is in complete control of the situation. All the characters, especially Nina and Darrell, but also Evans and Marsden, are helpless in this grip of desire. Abortion, adultery, raw Godless feminism, amoral passion, insanity, impotent manhood, and the sorrowful, selfish, secular search for “happiness” are all cleverly laid bare without any hope of honor, integrity, truth, justice, and divine providential counterbalance. In 1927, O'Neill left his wife and two children for Carlotta Monterey, with whom he traveled to Europe and Asia. But what he adds, quite poignantly, is his fear concerning his children. Strange Interlude
My people speak aloud what they think and what the others aren't supposed to hear. An attractive dancer is rescued from jail by a rich man, who helps her to have her first big opportunity at a musical play on Broadway. At last she is defeated by time and by that very spirit of youth (in the person of her son) that urged her on to rebel when she was young. It deals with that fascinating subject of people struggling with forbidden sexual attraction. She turns to Marsden, whom she has known since she was a child and regards as a father figure, and agrees to marry him. The Gordon Shaw theme parallels that motif of a lost ideal past O'Neill represented earlier in the image of childhood to which Jim and Ella Harris long to return. Nothing new is provided about their relationship because O'Neill had nothing new to provide about his with Carlotta at that point. He never releases the tension in his pursuit of the motives of human activity; this is his aim throughout. The effect of the family past is haunting to her.
At first, Gable was intimidated by the story's material, but he gave it his best effort and, subsequently, received a very positive reaction from all who were involved.
Nins Leeds, the daughter of an Ivy League professor, is devastated by the loss of her fiance in World War I.
July 30th 2004
Then we would understand why we, Her children, have inherited pain, for we would know that our life's rhythm beats from Her great heart, torn with the agony of love and birth. Nina would have married him before he left, but her father forbade the marriage. (1932). But he is only O'Neill the attractive lover succumbing to a forbidden passion, not the O'Neill viewers of the plays know better, the terrified victim of an incomprehensible guilt. This moment comes at the end of act 6, when Darrell, Marsden, and Evans are all contemplating her with different degrees and kinds of desire. So much subtext there. Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy." It is quite reasonable, of course, that at this point in the play, when Nina has become the mother of a young adult, she should follow the pattern of so many troubled matrons before and after her in O'Neill's plays. Acts 1 and 2 both begin with long soliloquies by Marsden; Acts 1 and 5 with a soliloquy by Nina; and act 4 with a soliloquy by Evans. He never discovers who his real father is, and he dislikes Darrell, whom he has to refer to as Uncle Ned. One of the key images of Marsden occurs in act 1. Five months later, in April, 1922, in a suburb near New York, Nina is happy to be pregnant, but has not told her husband of her condition. One of Nina's happiest moments comes when she is pregnant with Darrell's child.
She wants to believe in a deity that is more in harmony with her being as a woman than the distant, punitive God the Father of Judeo-Christian tradition.
His biological father is Darrell, but he is raised as Sam Evans's son. Source: Michael Manheim, "Strange Interlude and Dynamo," in Eugene O'Neill's New Language of Kinship, Syracuse University Press, 1982, pp.
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