In James Joyce’s “Eveline”, the protagonist, Eveline, struggles with a decision that could possibly change her life. Unlike most people, Eveline was given the opportunity of a lifetime; to leave the only place she’d ever call home and start fresh somewhere else with the man she loves. Even though the life she’s lived so far was miserable, she chose not to take that opportunity of a lifetime. What sane person would turn down such a rare chance? Someone like Eveline, who’d had a lifetime of stagnancy and complacency along with abuse from her father to ultimately influence the decision she makes. Several factors of Eveline’s young life cause the crippling effect on her quest for happiness. The first few paragraphs of the story introduce the character Eveline in a vague, yet descriptive way. The story begins with Eveline sitting in the window, watching the neighborhood. “Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired. (4)” Those two sentences sum up the stagnancy in Eveline’s life at this point and time. Much of her life in the beginning of the story is spent reflecting on how things used to be in her life. She doesn’t really seem to think in the current sense because she’s so intent on holding on to how things used to be. There’s a feeling of disconnect between Eveline and her family and home life. The “yellowing photograph that hung on the wall (4)” of the priest whose name she never knew was symbolic of how she lives in the house but is still detached from it.
Joyce goes on to expand on her home life and just how boring and lacking it is. Eveline has taken on a large part of the responsibility of keeping the family together, just like her mother had done before her. She works hard at a job only to give all of the wages to her ungrateful father. Even with that sacrifice, along with caring for her younger siblings and ailing father, it still goes unappreciated. With everything...
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