Eveline – James Joyce
Eveline is a very sad story. The story’s tone is a very sad one. In the beginning of the short story the narrator talks about Eveline Hill sitting at a window and thinking about her childhood. She begins to recall all the things that happened and how she played with the other children. As she sits there and thinks her thoughts turn to her sometimes abusive father who she lives with and begins to think about the possibilities of her freeing herself. Eveline has two possibilities. She is able to stay at home with her father and support herself or she can leave with her lover Frank.
Once Eveline begins to review her decisions on whether she should go on to start her new life or not she reads the two letters that she wrote to her father and her brother. After reading the letters she begins to remember how much better her life and old family life use to be. Shortly after she remembers her mother sad and uneventful life she decides that she is going to escape with Frank.
Once Eveline gets to the dock she waits in a crowd to board the ship with her lover, Franklin. Once she’s there she begins to feel detached and worried and begins to pray to God for direction. Frank was trying to get her attention and bring her toward the moving ship and continuously shout at her but Eveline does not move. She remains fixed to the land, motionless and emotionless.
This story is about a young woman who faces the difficult choices of taking a risk or remaining in safety. If she decides to go she doesn’t know what the future would bring her but if she remains at home she wouldn’t be faced with anything knew, everything is predictable if she stays home. At the end of it all Eveline decides she’s going to remain in her predictable and unhappy life. The symbolic features such as Joyce’s past for example help to elaborate on Eveline’s nature and the nature of the story.