Trapped by a Deathbed Promise
The 1940's were harsh time, for women to break apart from their families, by their mother's absence. It was especially harder on Eveline, the protagonist of "Eveline," by James Joyce. 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. First, Eveline made a deathbed promise to her mother; that she would keep her family together as long as she could (Joyce 6). This promise implied the caring of her brothers, her father and their home. As long as Eveline could take care of their family the promise was morally right. Perhaps she no longer could take care for them because she was getting married then she could brake the promise but she Secondly, Eveline's family had a photograph of a priest; this would mean that she was a catholic. "And yet during all those years she never found out the name of the priest whose yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium" (Joyce 4). A true catholic would not break a promise to a dying person. Eveline was a strong catholic believer and that made her unable to break the promise she made to her mother. There are more reasons why Eveline was not able to break her vow to her mother because of the time she lived in. Eveline lived in the 1940's, a time where women were expected by society to take responsibility of the home. Women were the ones who toke care of the house, kids, kitchen, and other duties. In conclusion, Eveline was morally unable to break her mother's wish because of her beliefs on her religion. The period in which Eveline lived in did not allow her to escape her family because women were expected to continue with responsibility of a dead mother. Perhaps the most important reason why Eveline was trapped with staying with her family is her deathbed promise she made to her mother and morally could not break that vow.
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