English 122 Ms. Purvis
An Analysis of a Promise
The short story written by James Joyce “Eveline” is about a young lady who lives her life in a promise. The promise is to her mother, who had passed away, that no matter how bad the family became, she would always keep it together. At a significant point in Eveline’s life, she was given the opportunity to leave the family and start a family of her own. Although Eveline is miserable with her life, she runs from Frank with no love in her eyes and remembers the promise that she had made. Is it that she did the right thing in keeping her promise, or was it that she wasn’t willing to leave the life she’s ever known. Though both ideas are relevant, it is strongly apparent that Eveline wasn’t willing to leave. She decided against the only person that truly loved her and cared about her needs. From the moment Eveline is introduced you get an impression of a scared uncertain young lady. As you learn of Eveline being only nineteen you begin to see that she has dealt with many detriments, hardships and oppressed circumstances at such a young age. Eveline is a troubled girl as Joyce takes you into her conscious thoughts, through periods of times in her life, her past as a child, her present, and her near future that may consist of life changing choices. As a child Eveline lived in a world much different than the one she lives in now, a much happier time in her life where innocence was all she knew. Clive Hart states in his overview, “As a child she had lived in circumstances that, in contrast with her adult life, seemed a muted version of paradise. She played in fields which have now disappeared: ‘…they seemed to have been rather happy then …. That was a long time ago.’ Now, in a dusty fallen world, she hopes for salvations and thinks at first the Messiah may indeed have arrived: Frank, her sailor suitor.” Her childhood such a distant memory Eveline hangs onto so dearly, as with the promise she...
Cited: Joyce, James. Eveline. Zlotnik Schmidt, Jan, and Lynne Crockett. Portable Legacies: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Nonfiction. Michael Rosenburg, 2009. 616-20. Print.
Hart, Clive. “Eveline: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
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