Eveline by James Joyce

Topics: Dubliners, Dublin, James Joyce Pages: 2 (755 words) Published: August 15, 2013
David V.
English 101
August 7, 2013
“She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odor of dusty cretonne. She was tired.” Immediately author James Joyce begins his short story “Eveline,” by symbolizing dust. Continuously throughout this story Joyce uses dust as a regulating symbol which powers our understanding of the 19 year old Eveline’s, agonizing, dreary, lethargic life. Through these symbolic features we make compelling inferences to what Eveline’s life is really like. Although life is difficult for Eveline, she faces the challenge of staying to care for her family, or escape her problems and leave with her lover frank away from Dublin, Ireland forever.

When you think of dust, you’d imagine old untouched items that are possibly forgotten. As young as she is, Eveline already feels forgotten. “She, her brothers and sisters were all grown up. Her mother was dead. Tizzie Dunn was dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to England. Everything changes.” (Joyce 1). Speaking of how her mother had died and her friends and brothers had left Ireland; she felt alone and forgotten. She was living at home with her father, who was a drunk that mistreated her. All she had been left with was the responsibility of working at the store, having to take care of her two younger siblings, and living life by doing the same thing every single day. The third sentence of the story seems to sum up Eveline in three words. “She was tired" (Joyce 1).

Eveline’s life has been overloaded with the responsibilities of taking care of her family. Early on when author Joyce speaks of her sitting by the dusty curtains; I believe he is symbolizing her workload at home, inferring that she does not have time to dust those curtains. In doing so, I have connected those curtains to Eveline, and the rest of her chores as taking care of her family. Due to her role as a “dutiful daughter,” as...
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