James Joyce's Short Story Eveline

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Furthermore, with Frank, she became to know a “very kind, manly [and] openhearted” (Joyce, 29) young man who she wants to marry and live in his home in Buenos Aires with, but she realises that she does not know him fully and refuses to leave because of him. Although, Frank tells her stories of his life, questions are still left unanswered: Does he have family? Is he from Liverpool, or where is he from? Does he mean Ireland when he refers to the “old country”, and is it the country he grew up in? Additionally, he is the reason for all of Eveline’s thoughts and emotions regarding her departure, because without this proposal, she would not be stuck in this conflict. As a sailor, Frank does not have the best reputation, which adds to her father’s…show more content…
The fear of the unknown in contrast to the familiar surroundings at home, leave Eveline questioning what to do and reminisce in old memories. Her life now is structured by repeating tasks and includes people she has known all her life. Starting a life with Frank would mean to leave all she is familiar with behind and to begin a new life in an unknown country she only ever heard stories about. Eveline would not know what to expect in Buenos Aires, though she would happily choose a life with Frank because “he would save her” (Joyce, 31). Save her from her taunting father, his abuse and threats, her work at the stores and Miss Gavan and the dust in her house that does not leave her alone. Connecting her to her mother, dust follows her and keeps her from making the final decision to abandon Ireland. Moreover, the dust acts as the glue to hold Eveline, her mother and the promise together “as long as she [Eveline] could” (Joyce, 30). She is offered a means to escape her life, her family and her neighbourhood to live a happy life with Frank. In a sense, she is offered a new life versus a metaphorical death: a life in Ireland where she would return to the same old tasks of housekeeping and caring for the children. Additionally, she would be subjected to her abusive father and must probably endure his violent nature like her mother did. As a consequence of not leaving with Frank, she chose not to live happily. Eveline is unable to imagine a future with Frank in Buenos Aires, away from her family, her neighbourhood and the memories of her dead mother. Stuck in her own past, she has no future, is paralysed and cannot act against
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