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Historical background: Irish Social Conditions and Emigration Ireland has endured waves of emigration, particularly after1848. Many left their native land to seek a better life elsewhere. The Irish were second-class citizens within their own nation; Ireland was a British colony and the Northern Protestants controlled the economy of the country. Catholic families often faced hardship. Alcoholism and abuse, as portrayed in “Eveline” were rampant. As a result, many of the Irish sought to escape James Joyce represents everyday life of Dublin in the early twentieth century in his collection of short stories, Dubliners.Dubliners consists of 15 stories and each of them unfolds lives of many different Dubliners vividly. By describing details of ordinary life and characters’ inner life, which is described by their interior monologue, Joyce succeeds in showing the realistic landscape of the inner space of Dubliners as well as that of outer space, the city Dublin at the turn of the century. Joyce tries to emphasize the fact that Dublin is not in the healthy state by showing unhealthy Dubliners. In Dublin, both spiritual and physical fathers are abnormal and the mother who stands for maternal love and fertility is dead.In a word, as Joyce thought, Dublin was the center of the paralysis in this early twentieth century. Under these conditions of inanimate life, Dubliners are trying to escape from the city. Identifying their lethargic reality with the place Dublin, they think escaping is a way “to live” they want to leave for the exotic Eastern world such as Persia or Arabia, or a distant unknown country such as Brazil (Buenos Ayres) or the Europe. When they try to be free from the place, however, they experience the moment that their fantasy is broken and face the raw reality.Plot Summary “Eveline” begins with a young woman gazing out the window to a Dublin street. Her name, Eveline, could be a reference to the title character of a nineteenth-century pornographic novel, or it could be a reference to a song by the Irish poet Thomas Moore; either way, the name is likely to connote a woman sexually active before marriage. Smelling the dust from “cretonne” curtains, a heavy cotton material that is usually brightly colored, Eveline reflects on her life, beginning with her childhood.The Hill family, Catholic and working class, live in a “little brown” house distinct from the bright brick dwellings that stand on the old spot of Eveline’s childhood playing field. A man from Belfast, a city that connotes the richer Northern Ireland that is largely populated by Protestants loyal to the English government, built the brick houses, and Eveline remembers the children that used to play on the field. She was happy then, when her father was less abusive and her mother was alive, and now, Eveline thinks, she is going to leave her home. 1Looking at the objects around her that she might never see again, Eveline notices a colored print of promises made to Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun canonized in 1920, whose image was connected with domestic security and was common in Irish Catholic homes. Eveline remembers that the priest whose photograph is next to the print is in Melbourne now, which sends her thinking about whether or not she should leave home. She would not be sorry to leave her job; she works in the “Stores,” a dry goods store in south Dublin, where her boss Miss Gavan is rude and embarrasses her.Eveline considers what it would be like in a faraway country, where she would be married and treated with respect, unlike her mother who had been abused by her father. Still afraid of her father’s violence towards her to the point that it gives her spasms of fear (which, it is implied, may lead to a nervous breakdown), Eveline considers that with her brothers gone she is no longer safe. Her father has been threatening her, particularly when she asks him for money on Saturday nights, even though she gives him all of her wages, does the shopping, and looks after her younger siblings.So she plans for her departure with her lover Frank, a sailor fond of music who has taken her to an opera (about the fortunes of a “Bohemian girl” who is abducted by gypsies) and told her of the “terrible Patagonians,” or Argentines, who represent decadent morality. A veteran of the “Allan Line,” a sea route associated with exile, Frank is planning to take Eveline by night boat to Liverpool, England, and then across the sea to Buenos Aires, a city at the time associated with prostitution. Mr.Hill dislikes sailors, has quarreled with Frank, and, having guessed about the affair, has forbidden Eveline from seeing him. Eveline continues smelling the dust from the curtains and considers two letters on her lap, one to her brother Harry (who is living in “the country,” or southern Ireland) and one to her father. She reflects that her aging father—who sometimes can be nice, like the time he took their family to the pretty Hill of Howth in northeast Dublin—will miss her, and then she hears music from a street organ that reminds her of her mother’s dying wish that Eveline stay home as long as she could.Then she remembers her father’s racist remark to an Italian organ-player playing the same song and her mother’s final, “foolish” repeated phrase, “Derevaun Seraun,” which is possibly nonsense and possibly corrupted Gaelic for a number of phrases including “the end of song is raving madness. ” Terrified, Eveline feels the necessity to escape to happiness with her lover. The final scene of the story is on a crowded dock on the river Liffey, where boats leave for Liverpool.Without understanding what Frank is saying to her, Eveline is pale, distressed, nauseous, and praying to God to reveal her “duty. ” The boat blows a long whistle. A bell clangs, and Frank tries to pull her on board, but Eveline clutches an iron railing on shore, feeling that he will drown her in “the seas of the world. ” She cries out and grasps the railing tighter while Frank calls to her, and she turns her helpless face to him without a glimpse of “love or farewell or recognition,” staying on shore as the boat pulls away. Characters Frank 2Frank is a sailor planning to move to Buenos Aires and take his lover Eveline with him. He has told Eveline he intends to marry her, which may well be the case, but Frank is a mysterious character and there is some implication that his intentions are devious. He started his sailing career on a trade route associated with exile and full of stories about infamously savage tribes from Argentina. Also, “going to Buenos Aires” was a slang term for prostitution, and the night boat to Liverpool may have been a reference to the mythological journey over the Styx river to the pagan nderworld—both of which are implications that Frank might have no intention of marrying his lover, but instead is planning bring her into a situation she will find immoral. However, Frank is also described as “kind, manly, open-hearted” and is set up as Eveline’s only way to happiness, so he may indeed have only the best intentions in helping his lover to escape from her abusive household and difficult job. In fact, the new lands and adventure into the outside world that Frank represents are perhaps the only hopeful elements of the story, especially considering Eveline’s very bleak future at home.But Frank’s character is left obscure so that, like Eveline, the reader is left nervous and guessing at what life would be like with him. Miss Gavan Eveline’s supervisor at the “Stores,” which sells a variety of dry goods in south-central Dublin, Miss Gavan nags and embarrasses Eveline, especially when other people are around. She is probably a Quaker because the “Stores” was owned by Quakers, a religious group known for being pacifist and often associated with trades people in Ireland. Ernest Hill Eveline’s favorite older brother, Ernest, is dead at the time of the story.Eveline remembers him being too grown up to play with the other children in the field next to their house. Eveline Hill Eveline is the protagonist of the story; her psychology is profoundly developed and the majority of the story takes place in her mind. A complex and conflicted person, she leads a hardworking life taking care of her family and tending a shop in Dublin. Her main problem is her abusive father, who has been threatening, berating, and beating her, and she must decide whether to abandon him and her family for her own happiness.Her father has forbidden her from seeing her lover, a sailor named Frank, but Eveline has managed to sneak away and keep up the affair, to the point that he has promised to marry her and sail with her to a new life. Tortured by the promise she made her mother to keep the home together as long as she could, and unsure of whether to leave her father, who will miss her, Eveline is trying to decide whether to attempt to “live” and be happy with her lover.She expresses some subtle doubts about Frank when she reflects that she had merely “begun to like him” and that he will only “perhaps” give her love, but this does not seem to be the major issue in her debate with herself. Eveline is principally concerned about her “duty” and her role within her family. 3 Although her name connotes the idea of a “fallen” woman, as does the concept of going to Buenos Aires, Eveline seems to be a rather modest and prudent person. She does the housework and the shopping, works faithfully at her job, and could be said to live in the image of her mother, in a life of “commonplace sacrifices. On the surface this term implies the difficult job of the person holding the family together. Eveline also thinks in a manner common to victims, justifying her father’s abuse with three random acts of benevolence she remembers. The last scene of the story renders Eveline’s character rather enigmatic at the same time as it penetrates the deepest parts of her psychology. Unable to leave and petrified to return, Eveline is revealed to be a torn, devastated person by her difficult life and rigid value system.Harry Hill Harry is the older brother to whom Eveline has written one of the letters she is holding during her scene of reflection. He works as a church decorator, lives somewhere in the countryside south of Dublin (which comprises most of Ireland), and regularly sends money to his sister. Harry and Ernest used to shield Eveline from their abusive father because he would “go for” them first, but now that Harry is living elsewhere and Ernest is dead, there is no one to protect her. Mr. Hill Mr.Hill is Eveline’s abusive father. He has regularly beaten his wife and children in the past, and as he gets older he is becoming increasingly prone to violence towards Eveline. With her mother and older siblings gone, she is likely to take all of the abuse herself. Eveline has a confusion of memories about her father; first she remembers him “hunting in” the children from their playing field with a walking stick, which is a rather worrisome image itself, and then she remembers in depth all of his increasing abuse.She finds it very difficult to get money from him (for the family shopping) because he says she wastes all of his “hard-earned” money, and he threatens to abuse her just “for her dead mother’s sake. ” By this he could be referring to any number of real or imagined faults, including what seems to be a certain amount of time living out of wedlock, which was a major taboo in the Catholic community. Eveline also remembers two isolated examples of how her father is sometimes “very nice”: when he read her a ghost story and toasts her, and when he made his children laugh at a picnic.These positive memories are very tenuous evidence of Mr. Hill’s good character. From the comment that he is usually “fairly bad of a Saturday night,” it can be inferred that he has a drinking problem, and the fact that he would miss Eveline in his old age suggests he might be insecure and bitter about getting older. Mrs. Hill Eveline’s mother was abused by Mr. Hill and treated with disrespect by the community, as becomes clear when Eveline muses that, unlike her mother, she will be married and therefore treated with respect. It is likely that Eveline’s mother had an affair with Mr.Hill out of wedlock and later married him, but this is not explicitly mentioned in the story. 4 Her life was one of sacrifices, according to Eveline’s musings, probably for her children’s sake, but it seems that these sacrifices and her husband’s abuse eventually drove her crazy and to her death. Mrs. Hill is particularly important for her somewhat conflicting dying advice to her daughter. Eveline has promised to “keep the home together as long as she could,” but her repeated last words in “foolish insistence” seem to contradict the life of martyrdom that she has recommended to her daughter. Derevaun Seraun,” whether it means “worms are the only end,” “the end of song is raving madness,” something else in corrupt Gaelic, or nothing at all, inspires Eveline’s terrified epiphany that she must escape. In fact, it is possible that Mrs. Hill’s “final craziness” actually results in her most coherent advice, since keeping the family together seems very likely to drive Eveline to the same bitter end as her mother. The Priest Mr. Hill’s school friend, the priest is only present in “Eveline” as a yellowing photograph on the wall.He has gone to Melbourne, which was known for its association with exiled Irish criminals as well as with the Irish Catholic priesthood. James Joyce gives Eveline an exciting chance to leave her old life and begin a new one. But she rejects this offer by choosing between Frank and Fate, she preferred instead to settle back into the lousy life she had known all her life. Why doesn’t she leave with Frank when she had great opportunity by forgetting the horror that she went through. Eveline had been raised as a Catholic, and it was very difficult for her not to keep a promise of her dead mother.It wasn’t right of her mother to ask her daughter to sacrifice herself. We know that Eveline will always be haunted by that promise, but we didn’t expect her to give up her life for this. We certainly know that Eveline wanted to leave her abusive, bad-tempered, heavy drunken father. Her father has taken advantage of his daughter’s promise, and that promise forcing her to keep the house for her father. He had so frightened her with threats of beating her. Eveline realized that with her brothers gone, there is no one who can protect her from her father.To leave her father would be a great idea for her, but that promise is killing her. Eveline’s home life was so unhealthy, despite all the chores she performed in her house; she still didn’t feel comfortable there. The dustiness of the house, which Joyce always reminds us in the story, told us that the dust made her sufficed all the time and made her sick and tire of this town and her life. Even though she had many reasons to leave her town, she still preferred to stay with her lousy father.The main reason why Eveline didn’t leave Ireland, because she was afraid of unknown and taking risks which she wasn’t prepared to deal with that in her future. She choses to leave her wonderful man Frank who can give her happiness. But instead she choses to stay in this horrible town with her father and with her promise, which she made to her mother. By staying in this town it will always remind her of what kind of mistake she made by not choosing to leave with Frank. 5 Escape! She must escape” . This illustrates the theme of escape by showing her dissatisfaction with her life in Ireland.The family bonds in Eveline are almost like chains and the protagonist is mentally and physically heavily burdened by her parents. Her life is full of responsibilities and duties, but when she is offered a release from this life, she dares not to take her chances. She is too scared. The first reason for Eveline to stay is that she does not have the courage to leave. She tries to convince herself that her life is not wholly undesirable, but Joyce reveals how hard and undesirable her life actually is when he tells us that she felt herself in danger of her father’s violence. She gets palpitations because she is so afraid .Eveline’s rejection of Frank is not just a rejection of love, but also a rejection of a new life abroad and escape from her hard life at home. Eveline has many strong ties to her home. First she has to take care of two children . Also Eveline is the only daughter in the family, that is why when “they were growing up he (her father) had never gone for her, like he used to go for Harry and Ernest, because she was a girl. ” These beatings by their father when they are younger make easier for Eveline’s brothers to leave the house, unlike Eveline who, because she is the only girl, is protected by her mother.Memories make Eveline feel more emotionally attached to her home. Although her favorite brother, Ernest, is dead, she still cares about Harry. She has too many duties in the house. She has to take care of two children, take care of the house, and her abusive father. All because of the promise she made to her dying mother to “keep the home together as long as she could. ” The love for her mother is too strong to break that promise. In conclusion Eveline chooses the “odour of dusty cretonne” over a new, but unknown life because the reasons for staying slightly overwhelm the reasons for leaving.For this era her decision might seem bizarre or even foolish; but making that decision she does what is logical for that epoch. Until the last moment of the story, you think she will get on that boat with Frank. But she can’t. She just can’t. Ties of home and Ireland are too strong As Eveline is a young woman – who is planning to run off to Buenos Aires with a young man, a sailor – whose name is Frank. There is nothing really keeping her in Ireland except the ties of family and culture – her mother is dead (and on her deathbed she said to Eveline: “Keep the family together .. ) Eveline hopes for a new life and wants to escape from this life through marriage. Literary Devices: Epiphany: Eveline has two epiphanies in this story, one epiphany gets her moving and out the door to her new exciting life, which is soon drowned by another epiphany of her family’s 6 needs and the rapid changes that would take place if she were to ship out. Her first epiphany is after she has reflected on her mother’s death, she believes that “Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. She thinks that her family will never be the same without her mother and that she needs to get out before the same happens to her. Once at the boat station she becomes overwhelmed and flustered with the rapid changes. “A bell clanged upon her heart. ” (Joyce, 41) This ringing bell was the sound of departure and of the beginning of her new life, if she had chosen to step on the boat. Her second epiphany started here, where “All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he would drown her. ” (Joyce, 41) The amount of change was too sudden and she is stunned.Paralysis: Eveline is yet another tale about paralysis from James Joyce’s Dubliners. It is a story of arduous childhood and adolescence full of anguish. The family bonds in Eveline are almost like chains and the protagonist is mentally and physically heavily burdened by her parents. Her life is full of responsibilities and duties, but when she is offered a release from this life, she dares not to take her chances. She is too scared.

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