Eveline by James Joyce

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Eveline is yet another tale about paralysis from James Joyce's Dubliners. It is a story of arduous childhood and adolescence full of anguish. The family bonds in Eveline are almost like chains and the protagonist is mentally and physically heavily burdened by her parents. Her life is full of responsibilities and duties, but when she is offered a release from this life, she dares not to take her chances. She is too scared.

The story takes place in Dublin, presumably at the beginning of the twentieth century (Dubliners was published in 1914). Eveline, the protagonist, sits by a window in a dull room almost for the whole story, the final scene being the only action happening outside this room. The time span of the beginning and the end is merely a few hours.

The story commences with Eveline sitting at a window, watching the avenue. Years ago there used to be a field there in which she and the other children, excluding her brother Ernest "who was too grown up to play", used to play every evening, but now there stood only houses. Life seemed to be better back then, but now Eveline and her brothers are all grown up and her mother is dead. Eveline is planning to leave Ireland, just like most of her childhood friends have done. Still, she is not sure if it is wise to leave her home.

Eveline is working extremely hard at a store and also at home, where she looks after for her old father. She will not miss her job or her co-workers. Eveline also has mixed feelings about her father: He is cruel at times and even though he has never laid a finger on her, he often threatens her with violence. With her brothers away (Ernest has died and Harry is often away on church decorating business) there is no one to protect her. Eveline is now nineteen and there are two younger children, presumably siblings although the story is not clear about this, and donates her whole salary to the family, but she still gets accused of being a spendthrift by her father.

Eveline is about...
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