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On a warm day in 1912, the Tyrone family gathers at their summer home in New London, Connecticut. James, the father, is an aging popular actor whose early privations have led him to devote his career to a second-rate but commercially successful play. Mary, his convent-bred, Irish Catholic wife, has just returned from a sanitarium after supposedly being cured of drug addiction. Jamie, the eldest son, has made a half-hearted attempt to follow his father's profession but now is reduced to a life of alcoholism and cynicism. The youngest son, Edmund, a 23-year-old would-be writer, comes home penniless and ill after working as a merchant seaman. In the course of the day, Mary's fear that Edmund has tuberculosis causes her again to use morphine; and when the illness is confirmed, the family's repressed anguish, pride, and insecurity surface in bitter quarreling fueled by alcohol. The day ends as the three men sit and listen in silence as Mary lapses into her own private hell. They know that tomorrow it will all begin again.