Analysis of Joyce’s Eveline





Analysis of Joyce’s Eveline

Eveline is a young woman in ‘Eveline,’ one of James Joyce’s shorts stories from his Dubliners collection, who lives with her father. She is tired of her life and her problematic father. The character is not satisfied and dreams of a better life with Frank, her sailor lover. In certain ways, Joyce uses the story of Eveline to reflect the life of the majority of Dubliners. He typifies the difficulties Irish people were facing at the time. Joyce emphasizes that Ireland should drop its nostalgic behavior of looking back at the past and embrace progress. This essay analyzes how Joyce uses Eveline to indicate how necessary it is for the new nation of Ireland to look forward and build itself into a new nation.

There is nothing left for Dubliners to hold on to from the past. Eveline is longing for a new start in a new country and a city (Buenos Aires) that directly translates to ‘good air.’ “She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very kind, manly, open-hearted” (6). Eveline epitomizes the life and Difficulties faced by residents of Dublin at the time. She leads a dull, oppressive, and uninspiring life with her father, which can be translated to mean that the older generation is not part of budding Ireland. Casting off the older generation will increase the chances of Ireland forging itself into an established country. The good aspects of old Ireland, such as Eveline’s mother and Ernest, her older sibling are gone. The promise of a new life in a new country looks the best alternative to the musty old Ireland. When the time comes to board the boat to Buenos Aires, Eveline is unable to leave Ireland

There is no clear explanation as to why Eveline remained in Ireland. Her Clinging to the barrier can be translated to her clinging to Ireland and the past, which is long gone but which she is not ready to abandon. “Still, they seemed to have been rather happy then. Her father was not so bad then, and besides, her mother was alive” (2). Eveline reminisces about the past, which creates the dilemma of whether she remained in Ireland because of the nostalgia of the happy times long gone or just for old Ireland. This is because the people she shared the happy times with are gone, dead, or moved back to England. Joyce does not let the reader know why Eveline remains, which appears to be a masterstroke from her part.

Eveline is just another tale of Dublin that is about paralysis. Joyce uses paralysis to show how Eveline is immobilized, unable to progress, and trapped in her past. Joyce believes that Ireland, in its entirety, is paralyzed. The paralysis is so profound that the young woman chooses to remain in an abusive life than jump on the chance for a new start. After confronting the reality of her journey to Buenos Aires, she goes back to her house. “She looked around the room, reviewing all its familiar objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years, wondering where on earth all the dust came from” (3). She might have been overwhelmed by the guilt of leaving her younger sibling and father behind.

Dubliners are fearful of new things. Eveline, the epitome of Ireland, is a fearful young woman, fanatical with thoughts of recalled ghost tales and desolate Patagonians. There is no way he is going to leave Ireland now after Frank, who was her only chance leaves. “He was shouted at to go on, but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition” (13). She is in the prison of routine and trapped in a continuous cycle of restraint, frustration, and violence. Eveline will consistently face the consequences of being part of these mundane routines, which include unreciprocated love and loneliness.

Joyce believes that Ireland has a problem with nostalgically holding on to the past and neglecting the duty to create a new compact nation. Eveline, who is a representation of Ireland, should cast aside old people or old practices that hold them back. Joyce does not tell us exactly why Eveline remains in Ireland, a rather shocking incident to the reader. She was excited about leaving for Buenos Aires, but her change in attitude when its crunch time is a huge twist. She is paralyzed in a way that she cannot walk away from responsibility and the past. She still feels it is her duty to take care of his father at the expense of her own happiness. She fears new things and would instead remain trapped in a continuous cycle of restraint, frustration, and violence.

Works Cited

Joyce, James, and T. P. McKenna. Eveline. Irish Homestead, 1904.