After Mat Burke asks for her hand in marriage, Anna reveals that she
I s’pose if I tried to tell you I wasn’t--that--no more you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would! And if I told you that yust getting out in this barge, and being on the sea had changed me and made me feel different about things, ‘s if all I’d been through wasn’t me and didn’t count and was yust like it never happened--you’d laugh, wouldn’t you? And you’d die laughing sure if I said that meeting you that funny night in the fog, and afterwards seeing that you was straight goods stuck on me, had got me to thinking for the first time, and I sized you up as a different kind of man--a sea man as different from the ones on land as water is from mud--and that was why I got stuck on you, too. I wanted to marry you and fool you, but I couldn’t. Don’t you see how I’ve changed? I couldn’t marry you with you believing a lie--and I was shamed to tell you the truth--till the both of you forced my hand, and I seen you was the same as all the rest. And now, give me a bawling out and beat it, like I can tell you’re going to. Will you believe it if I tell you that loving you has made me--clean? It’s the straight goods, honest! Like hell you will! You’re like all the rest!
Eugene O’Neill. “Anna Christie” in Three Great Plays: The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie, The Hairy Ape. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2005. pp.82-3.