Anna Christie

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Play by Eugene O'Neill, produced in 1921 and published in 1922, when it received a Pulitzer Prize. It is a revision of his unsuccessful play Chris Christopherson (1920).

Chris Christopherson, Swedish-American captain of the coal barge Simeon Winthrop, awaits the arrival of his daughter Anna in the saloon of Johnny-the-Priest on the New York waterfront. Several years before, he sent her to relatives on a Midwestern farm, away from the baneful influence of “dat ole davil sea,” and he pictures her as an innocent country girl; but when she enters it is obvious to all except Chris that Anna is a coarse, hardened woman of the underworld. She confesses to her father's mistress, Marthy, that she was seduced by a cousin when she was 16, lived as a prostitute in St. Louis, was ill in a prison hospital, and has acquired a deep-seated hatred of men. Father and daughter leave New York on a voyage of the barge, and the sea that Chris hates proves to be the means of Anna's regeneration, until the Winthrop picks up a boatload of shipwrecked sailors, one of whom is the rough Irishman Mat Burke. In love with Anna, Mat wants to marry her, but when she discloses her history, he and Chris go off separately to get drunk, and sign for a voyage on the same ship. But Mat's love is stronger than his sense of Anna's shame, and both men go back to Anna, who promises to make a home for them when they return.

Subjects: Literature — Theatre.

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