Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie at the Odyssey
by Ernest Kearney
In Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie the sea defines all things; the characters, their lives, their past, and their destinies.
It is the sea that convinces Chris Christopherson to abandon his young daughter to what he believes will be a better life. For in the sea's vastness all he finds is the pain of his own insignificance.
Many years later it is the sea where his estranged daughter, Anna, comes seeking her father, and discovers a deliverance from the demons of her own life. For as the sea's immensity may diminish one's life in comparison, so too may one's sins be diminished.
"Here's to the sea," proclaims Anna, and if any words spoken in the play are an expression of the author's sincerest sentiments, these are them. It was as a sailor, on the open ocean, that O'Neill first found the core of his being, and which would one day serve as the wellspring of his creativity.