Eveline Analysis

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Name: Megan Rudisill | |

In James Joyce’s short story, Eveline, the main character illustrates that it can be a challenge to hold too tightly onto the past when faced with the futures uncertain path. The author makes it clear the Eveline, the girl, grows up dealing with death and suffering, and as a result she takes on the roll of her mother. She works extremely hard to support and care for her family in the way that her mother would have, but she frequently feels lonely and finds herself unhappy. The outcome of all of the change that is occurring in Eveline’s family life, results in relationships drifting apart, and her father growing unpleasant and mean with old age. Eveline feels that the only way to find happiness again is to embark in a new phase of her life with her lover, Frank. He has arranged for them to secretly travel away together, get married, and settle down. Although Eveline believes that she is ready to pursue a new life with Frank, when she is on the verge of leaving, empathetic feelings rush through her and the realization that she needs to move away from her “true home” quickly becomes short-lived.

This short narrative is written in the third person point of view, and it provides a literal paralysis. This paralysis begins when the narrator is describing the effect that the death of Eveline’s mother, younger brother, and childhood friend has had on her, and her present life. The narrator continues by telling the audience that Eveline’s living brother is hardly ever home because his work that requires constant travel, and when her abusive father is home he is uninterested in having any sort of interaction with her. It is emphasized that Eveline is dealing with depression and torn between whether she should stay or leave her known home; the narrator furthers this realization by making comments like “Everything changes. [And] now she was going to go away like the others, to leave her home.” As Eveline reaches this turning point in her...
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