Eveline Essay

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"Derevaun Seraun!": the end of pleasure is pain...

The heartache of losing a loved one is indescribable. Many people live out their lives based off how that person would want them to live. James Joyce's short story, "Eveline," is an example of how promises are hard to break. Eveline, "trapped like a helpless animal" by her deathbed promise to her mother, is morally unable to break her vow and flee her miserable home to seek a new life for herself.

The word "promise" is defined as "a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one." (Source #2) The word "promise" is the basis of this entire story because it is the reason behind Eveline's decisions By promising her mother "to keep the home together as long as she could," (Joyce, 6) she took upon a responsibility that was too much for one child to handle. She became her mother in a sense. Eveline was forced to take upon her mother's role and be the provider of the household because of her father's incapability to take care of his children. This incompetence was caused by the death of his wife; however, he was not always a drunken, failing father. Before Eveline's mother died, Eveline spoke of her father as "sometimes being very nice." (Joyce, 6) Readers begin to see the love Eveline feels for her father when she speaks of her childhood, which cannot be seen as clearly at the beginning of the story when she's starting to leave. As Eveline gets closer to her departure, that is when her emotions reach the surface. Eveline begins to recollect memories of her father that made him an important figure in her life. For example, on page 6, Joyce says,"She remembered her father putting on her mother's bonnet to make the children laugh." Joyce's purpose in Eveline's nostalgia is to show how her father is not just this evil, sinister man that she needs to escape from, but he is her father. Yes, she is binded by her mother's promise, but she also has a committment to be her father's daughter....
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