Eveline: A Short Story by the Irish Writer James Joyce

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Eveline
Summary:
Eveline sits at the window, watching the avenue. She thinks of her family, and the neighbors. Years ago, the children on the avenue used to play on a field where now stand many houses. She and her siblings are now grown up, and her mother is dead. Eveline is nineteen years old, and she is planning to leave Ireland forever. She works very hard, at a store and also at home, where she cares for her old father. She won't miss her job in the store. She has mixed feelings about her father. He can be cruel, and though he doesn't beat her, as he did her brothers, he often threatens her with violence. With her brothers gone (Ernest is dead and Harry is often away on business) there is no one to protect her. She takes care of two young siblings and gives over her whole salary for the family, but her father is always accusing her of being a spendthrift.

She is going to leave Ireland for good with a sailor named Frank. He has a home in Buenos Ayres. Frank treats her respectfully and with great tenderness, and he entertains her with stories about his travels around the world. Her father dislikes him. Still, she loves her father and regrets the idea of leaving him in his old age. At times he can be kind. She remembers her mother's death, when she promised her mother to keep the home together as long as she could. Her mother lived a life "of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness" (33). She finished babbling the enigmatic phrase "Derevaun Seraun!" again and again. The fear of that memory strengthens the resolve in Eveline to leave. But at the station, with the boat ready to leave, she is paralyzed. She cannot go; the world is too frightening. "All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He [Frank] was drawing her into them: he would drown her" (34). Frank calls to her, trying to get her to board with the rush of people. She merely stares at him as if he is a stranger. Analysis:

Yet again, this story focuses on the theme of escape. While...
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