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The underlying themes in Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude

Writer Robert Gross comments and responds to Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude" in a 1997 publication. This entry summarizes some of the main points that he makes and reveals many of the underlying themes that are present in this play.

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In "O'Neill's Queer Interlude," Robert Gross supports the idea that Nina is the main character in the story and that her overwhelming presence takes over every scene. She is the catalyst that fulfills the male characters' desires, just as they are the ones who have the ability to pacify her longing to feel needed. Gross also argues that Nina represents a phallic mother because she is the leading lady. It can be assumed that her sexuality is ambiguous because her virginity is never fully taken, but only because she has not had sex with her true love, and any intimacy that she has with the male characters are acts of insanity. Although many critics have claimed that Nina has a mental problem, it can also be assumed that she has instead cleverly found a way to fulfil her own selfish desires by making others feel sympathetic for her situation.

When Gordon leaves for war, she has a strong inclination that he won't be returning, and that her father could have possibly played a role in keeping them from getting married. It is evident that ...

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Much can be interpreted from the writings of Eugene O'Neill, but the "Strange Interlude", in particular, can be viewed as one that reveals his sexuality and how he personally feels about strong female personalities. O'Neill challenged society by asking them to see race, and class in a different light, but this story takes a different angle by showing readers a different side of the female protagonist.