"There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is
habitual but indecision (James)." Originally appearing in Dubliners, a
compilation of vignettes by James Joyce, his short story Eveline is the tale of
such an unfortunate individual. Anxious, timid, scared, perhaps even terrified
-- all these describe Eveline. She is a frightened, indecisive young woman
poised between her past and her future.
Eveline loves her father but is fearful of him. She tries to hold onto
good memories of her father, thinking "sometimes he could be very nice (Joyce
5)," but has seen what her father has done to her siblings when he would "hunt
them in out of the field with his blackthorn stick (Joyce 4)." As of late she
has begun to feel "herself in danger of her father's violence (Joyce 4)."
Ironically, her father has "begun to threaten her and say what he'd do to her
only for her dead mother's sake (Joyce 5)."
Eveline wants a new life but is afraid to let go of her past. She dreams
of a place where "people would treat her with respect (Joyce 4)" and when
contemplating her future, hopes "to explore a new life with Frank (Joyce 5)."
When, in a moment of terror she realizes that "she must escape (Joyce 6)," it
seems to steel her determination to make a new home for herself elsewhere. On
the other hand, she is comfortable with the "familiar objects from which she had
never dreamed of being divided (Joyce 4)." She rationalizes that: "In her home
anyway she had shelter and food; she had those whom she had known all her life
about her (Joyce 4)." As she reflects on her past she discovers "now that she
was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life (Joyce 5)."
Eveline wants to keep the deathbed pledge made to her mother but is alarmed
at the prospect of sharing her mother's fate. Her mother was ill-treated in
life and Eveline vows that "she would not be treated as her mother had been
(Joyce 4)."... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). Eveline: Character Analysis. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Eveline-Character-Analysis-1748.html
"Eveline: Character Analysis" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Eveline-Character-Analysis-1748.html>.
"Eveline: Character Analysis." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Eveline-Character-Analysis-1748.html.