Eveline

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Eveline is a short story written by James Joyce. In the last paragraph of the story Joyce states that "She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition" (7). This is the most powerful and important line in the story of Eveline. The line illustrates the reality of her life at home. The reality is that she feels "helpless" and thinks she has to stay and take care of her family and the house. The line shows how she is torn between her obligations to stay and look after her family or escape with Frank to a new life in Buenos Ayres.

The setting of the story is very simple. It takes place in a dusty, old room in Dublin, Ireland. We are introduced to Eveline, a nineteen- year- old young woman, as she sits, tired, gazing out the window in her little, and old brown house. She sees a man walking home to a "bright brick house with a shining roof" (4). These descriptions Joyce may have used to set the mood of the story. Eveline's house is dreary, dusty, and full of memories from her childhood. She desperately wants to escape her house because she is tired of her miserable life. The new, bright brick houses are beautiful to the eye and are not full of dust and desolation. The new houses represent Eveline longing for a new and improved life. Her internal struggle holds her back from the new life she desperately desires. As she continues to sit by the window she thinks about the past when she used to play in field with "the Devines, the Waters, the Dunns, little Keogh the cripple, and her brothers and sisters" (4). She begins to think about how they all grew up and left or like her mother, died. Eveline realizes she is a young woman who deserves a happy and fulfilling life.

Eveline could not forget the promise she had made to her dying mother. The promise was "to keep the home together as long as she could" (6). Being raised Catholic; it was very difficult for Eveline not to keep...
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