Eveline by James Joyce

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Essay 2

Leaving the only “home” that one has ever known can be very emotional, especially when you hold so many memories and have established a routine of life in that home. Many say “live life to the fullest,” yet they come up with excuse after excuse that holds them from leaving. They feel as if they can’t make this decision on their own. Trying to find the meaning of life and making attempts to discover the reason why they were put on this Earth is hard enough. Every day one lives new experiences that we hope will one day lead us to our destined future. Yet, for so many, not knowing where to begin keeps them from moving forward. Reminiscing on the memories created in our home; thinking about how much those memories have faded, and will eventually disappears if they are to leave that home. Being attached to the environment that one is used to or the routine of life holds one back from what the future could hold. Even when given the key to escape, thinking too hard makes one doubt their ability to adapt to a new environment. “What if’s?” and breaking that routine of life gives one fear of failure, not “making it” once leaving the environment. Feeling stuck in trying to find meaning of life makes it easier to come up with excuses to stay in the routine in which one is accustomed to.

This is true because it is what happened to Eve line in “Eve line” by James Joyce from Ireland during the early 20th century. No matter how many times Eve line sits and thinks about moving forward, and living new experiences, she was stuck in her past and thinking about it so much does not let her move on and travel to break out of her routine and bad habits.

Joyce does an excellent job illustrating Eveline’s decision making process with language and symbols throughout the short story. He begins by telling us where Eve line is sitting in her home “at the window watching the evening invade the avenue” as she smells the “odor of dusty cretonne” letting readers know that it was a particular aroma that he had to describe. As she is looking out she begins to reminisce on the memories that she still has of the big open field where all the children of the avenue used to go out and play when she was younger. Joyce choice of character names for those children’s families (the Devines, the Water, and the Dunnes) helps the reader picture them as very friendly neighbors who Eve line almost saw as family. The name “Eve line” is another clear symbol that the author makes in the story comparing the main character to “Eve” from the “Adam and Eve’s” biblical story where “Eve” is confronted by the serpent or “Satan” just like Eve line was always confronted by her father out in the field or the “Garden of Eden” as the biblical story goes. Eve line believed that her father “wasn’t so bad then” and that she used to be “happy” then but now everything was different. Joyce reminds the reader many times that Eveline’s mother isn’t alive any more, letting the reader know that Eve line still lamented this loss so much. One of the “Dunn’s” had also passed now and “the Waters” had moved back to England. She didn’t want to be another person who just left her “home” full of those memories of the past. Joyce repeats the word “Home!” and emphasizes it using an exclamation point as if Eve line was reminding herself that it was the only home she knew. Eve line reminisces on the smallest details of her home, like “the objects she had dusted once a week for so many years” and the “yellowing photograph hung on the wall” which her used to always pass and quotes his exact words “”He is in Melbourne now.”” The picture was above the broken harmonium and beside the “print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque.” Margaret Mary Alacoque is a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church who was very popular in Ireland during the early 20th century. The broken harmonium is another symbol that Joyce uses to connect the reader to the “broken” environment of her home and of...
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