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May 26, 1957 - Image 16

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Michigan Daily, 1957-05-26
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Page fight

THE MICHIGAN

DAILY'

Sunday, May 26; 1957-

aSndo v .v 26,1957

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

EUGENE

O'NEILL

e'gun in 1951, the study
this year investigated political
participation and encountered odd situations

With 'Journey's' Success, He Enters A New Phase
Of Popularity and Interest

By SARAH DRASIN
Daily Staff Writer
SITH THE staggering success of
his gargantuan play, Long
Day's Journey Into Night, which
recently was awarded a Pulitzer
Prize, Eugene O'Neill, dead now'
for nearly four years and consid-
ered dead as a playwright for
many years before, has recaptured
his place as "the" American play-
wright of our day.
This fact is not only acknow-
ledged by audiences who have lived
through the great emotional ex-
perience of seeing the four hour
Journey, but by authors and critics
themselves, who, after thinking
OTNeill's day had passed, have sud-
denly come to realize that it is
indeed not over, nor will it be over
for some time to come.
One of those who never .lost
faith in O'Neill's power and magic,

however, is Edwin Engel, assistant
professor of English at the Univer-
sity. Shortly before O'Neill's death,
he wrote a critical w o r k on
O'Neill's plays, "The Haunted
Heroes of Eugene O'Neill," Har-
vard University Press, 1953. To
him, as to a good many others,
Eugene O'Neill is and always has
been, "without a doubt America's
foremost playwright, far surpass-
ing any of his contemporaries and
ranking with the greatest of our
time - Ibsen, Stindberg, Chekov
and Shaw."
THE SCANDINAVIAN countries
have an abiding interest and
admiration for O'Neill, Prof. Engel
points out, and on the strength of
this he will travel there next fall
to deliver a series of lectures on
O'Neill. Prof. Engel's own interest
in the playwright began in the
early 1930's at the University of

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STATE and LIBERTY

Chicago, "when all sorts of excit-
ing things were being done. O'Neill
was a 'hot' product then and all
drama held a fascination for me.
I would sometimes see three or
four plays a week to try and sati-
ate this fascination. O'Neill held
a great attraction for me then,
and his attraction, I believe, is
just as great for others as- well."
He notes that a revival of another
of O'Neill's plays, Moon for the
Misbegotten, is now on Broadway,
following demands for O'Neill
after Journey's success.
Determining what went into
making O'Neill what he was and
still is, is a "most confusing" task,
according to Prof. Engel, and "not
something you can try to explain
in so many pat words. His life was
a long set of traumatic experiences
and from it came a man in search
of something."
A brief sketch of his life makes
it easy for us to imagine the,
agonies O'Neill must have suffered.
Born a Roman Catholic, the con-
ditions of his life and personality
soon tore him from actual belief
in Catholicism. Yet he craved reli-
gion as a balm for his troubled
mind. All through his life he was
haunted by his apostasy in conflict
with his need for religion.
IN HIS relationship with his fath-
er, famous actor James O'Neill,
he found another great conflict.
Though admired on the stage, the
senior O'Neill was despised by his'
son for his tight-fistedness and for
an attitude which the younger
O'Neill felt destroyed his mother.
For his mother, he felt a great
sense of closeness and sympathy,
mixed with guilt feelings shared
with the guilt which O'Neill felt
was his father's.
He suffered from a deeply
troubled conscience on these ac-
counts and alternately searched
for an answer to this suffering and-
punished himself. These personal
agonies O'Neill transformed almost
intact to the plots of plays, and as
the title to Prof. Engel's book sug-
gests, his heroes are indeed haunt-
ed. Once on the stage, they take
on another dimension, universal-
ity. The tides of O'Neill's troubled
life are "transmuted" into the
tides of universal life, and O'Neill's
struggles become the struggles of
every man: "life versus death, love
versus hate, faith against scepti-
cism and the confusion of illusion
and reality."
It takes little effort to see how
the lifestream of O'Neill's agon-
ized real life flows into the tor-

think he was welterweight cham-
pion of the world in the 30's."
After interviewing is. completed,
results are coded and punched on
IBM cards. A group containing a
card for each respondent is called
a deck. Several decks are made
containing different combinations
of questions. For one -interview it
was necessary to code 11 IBM
cards.
Some of the simpler cards can
then be run through a sorter. This
machine separates the cards ac-
cording to any combination of col-
umns and drops them into slots.
For instance, the cards might be

divided into two groups, those who
voted for Eisenhower and those
who voted for Stevenson in the
last election.
CARDS CAN also be run on a
. collator so that those cards in
one deck that correspond with
those in another deck on a speci-
fied question can be collected to-
gether. Part of the student's parti-
cipation in the program is develop-
ing his own analysis of the survey
data. For this he evolves several
hypothses and makes a deck, using
questions applying to them. He
See AREA, Page 17

CENSUS TRACTS-An aerial map of Detroit is used to pick area rando
of city blocks and then particular respondents are drawn from these oi

'l
x::r>:::;. .

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT-A scene from the Broad-
way production at the Helen Hayes Theatre, featuring Florence
Eldridge, James Robards, Jr., Bradford Dillman and Fredric
March. It was directed by Jose Quintero.

ABOVE-Joseph Adelson, Elizabeth Windsor, Margaret Rose and
Philip Prince take a few minutes off in Survey Research Center's
basement coffee room.
BELOW-Patricia Heiss punches IBM cards on a special machine
that checks punches already recorded on the cards. If there is a
disagreement, bells start ringing, and the cards must be hand
checked with tally sheets.

)

tured lives of the characters of
whom he writes, and, indeed, of
whom he is one. In the plot of
Long Day's Journey Into Night, it
is almost universally agreed that
O'Neill has portrayed quite ex-
actly his own life.
In Journey, as in O'Neill's real
life, the father is a famous actor,
but a tyrant, hated by his son.
The mother, like all the mothers
of O'Neill's plays, and like his own
mother, is the object of the hero's
love, supposedly driven to dope
addiction by the father's tyranny.
"BUT HERE, unlike his former
attempts to find the answer to
his own life problems in his play,"
Prof. Engel points out, "he has
come to some sort of a realization
-a realization about his mother
and about himself."

From the beginning of O'Neill's
writing, we can see this revelation
taking place.
The deep preoccupation with his
mother was first revealed in De-
sire Under the Elms, written in
1923, Prof. Engel explains. After
the position of O'Neill's feelings,
he seems to make a concerted at-
tempt from then on to find the
answers to it, to salve his haunted
conscience and find his own peace.
All through his following plays,
the themes of a woman-a mother
most often-a haunted hero and
a search prevail. Strange Inter-
lude, written in 1928, is about a
woman who is "all things to all
men-daughter, mother and mis-
See THE RISE, Page 16

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