Topics: Dubliners, Paralysis, James Joyce Pages: 12 (4905 words) Published: April 16, 2012
Eveline is the story of adolescence and fortitude, belonging to that of a young woman by the name of Eveline Hill. Eveline was perhaps a very relatable woman during the time period of James Joyce’s writings in that, the way she was paralyzed could be easily recognized by many women. Eveline was paralyzed mentally, however she let her paralysis carry on until it became physical. Eveline had the paralysis that many might interpret as fear, but was much deeper than fear. Eveline was incapable of leaving Dublin or her mean father, even though she had been offered an opportunity to leave and escape her entrapping paralysis. Eveline was being held back by family life and tradition as well as a promise to her mother, so what could have only stayed a mental fight, turned physical with her unwillingness to even leave the shores of Dublin. Eveline’s paralysis took over her life and can be illustrated by one of her deep thoughts, She answered nothing. She felt her cheek pale and cold and, out of a maze of distress, she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her duty. This showed how Eveline became so paralyzed that she couldn’t even make her own decisions but turned to God hoping that he would make them for her Critics have long noted that one of the most important themes in Dubliners is the tendency for its characters to be frozen in a state of psychological and spiritual arrest, or "paralysis." As it is portrayed in the collection, Dublin suffers from harsh social conditions, the lack of moral hope, and spiritual emptiness, which combine to erode the impetus to positive change in many of its characters. And there is perhaps no example of this paralysis so bleak as that of the seemingly doomed and completely immobile Eveline at the end of her story. Eveline is unable to escape the paralyzed existence of the "duties" and inhibitions of home, living under her father's abusive control. Her mother's death, emblematized by the mysterious (but most likely morbid and fatalistic) Irish phrase "Derevaun Seraun," inspires Eveline's desperate and terrified desire to escape. But it also reminds her of her promises to stay at home, and Eveline's chance to flee to the freedom and motion of a new life across the sea fails, leaving her locked into the paralyzed role of housewife to an abusive father, poised for a nervous breakdown of her own. As Brewster Ghiselin notes in Accent, in Dubliners "the soul's true satisfaction cannot be exhibited in the experience of those who remain in Ireland"; distant countries and the sea to the east represent "the aspect of a new life" and the possibility of spiritual regeneration. Eveline is denied this possibility precisely because she is paralyzed, clinging to the iron railing at the harbor passively, "like a helpless animal" unable to move or even think of her own volition. In "Eveline" domesticity is clearly associated with details, with metonymy and synecdoche. The detail that will become Eveline's signature is the "odour of dusty cretonne," expressive of the eternal Hausfrau's world: Eveline cleans and cleans, but still there is the inevitable dust that settles in those curtains of cretonne, representing her marginal effort at gentility. This is the "home" she has decided to leave, a home that she associates with its objects: "She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years, wondering where on earth all the dust came from." Of the many "familiar objects" on which her gaze is fixed, two are foregrounded: the "yellowing photograph" of an absent priest whose name she was never able to identify and a "broken harmonium." In a home now merely a museum of memories for Eveline, it is details that have made her "tired." She has not only all those "familiar objects" to be dusted each week but also the Saturday night quarrels with her father over money, which "weary her unspeakably." She has been "feminized" by a concern for details, since she...
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