This article examines one of Eugene O'Neill's undervalued plays, Dynamo, in the framework of two strands of modern psychological thought: attachment disorder and death anxiety. Dynamo, with its ostensible theme of religion versus science, has often been dismissed as sophomoric and histrionic. However, an analysis of the “secondary” plot of protagonist Reuben Light's dysfunctional relationship with his mother illustrates a more complex storyline; an attachment disorder in action, leading to Reuben's fatal fixation on obtaining an illusory everlasting maternal presence vis-à-vis a hydroelectric power-plant. The themes of this article are drawn predominantly on the pioneering works of John Bowlby and Donald Winnicott, and on Ernest Becker's seminal books The Denial of Death and Escape from Evil. Infants and young children who have insecure attachment to their primary caregivers typically grow into adolescents and adults with free-floating anxiety, unconsciously craving a mother substitute. This is what tragically happened to Reuben Light.

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