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DMossenta - Eveline
[author: Davide Mossenta - postdate: 2007-12-30]


Eveline is a story of paralysis. She is unable to decide about her future, because she is linked to her home. She wants to have a family with Frank, but she hasn't got the courage to escape. She hidews herself behind the promise she had done to her mother  not to escape, but the real reason is that she lacks the courage to break the chains that bind her.

All of Joyce's characters are spiritually broken and afraid people, they are to some extent slaves of their families', moral, cultural, religious and political life.

Joyce uses the epiphany to make her characters aware of their condition.

The epiphany is a "sudden spiritual manifestation" caused by a banal situation, that lead the characters to a sudden self-realisation about themselves or about the reality surrounding them. in Eveline the epiphany is prompted by the sound of the street organ that made she remember the promise she has done to her mother, so she can't leave her home.


Torn between two extreme options - unhappy domesticity or a dramatic escape to Argentina for marriage - Eveline has no possibility of a moderately content life. Her dilemma does not illustrate indecisiveness but rather the lack of options for someone in her position.

On the docks, when she must make a choice once and for all, Eveline remembers her promise to her mother to keep the family together. So close to escape, Eveline revises her view of her life at home, remembering the small kindnesses: her father's caring for her when she was sick, a family picnic before her mother died.

Such memories overshadow the reality of her abusive father and deadening job, and her sudden certainty comes as an epiphany - she must remain with what is familiar.

When faced with the clear choice between happiness and unhappiness, Eveline chooses unhappiness, which frightens her less than her intense emotions for Frank. Eveline's nagging sense of family duty stems from her fear of love and an unknown life abroad, and her decision to stay in Dublin renders her as just another figure in the crowd of Dubliners watching lovers and friends depart the city.


Eveline as a woman and as a wife

Eveline isn't a woman because she doesn't become a wife. As a matter of fact she remains in Dublin where she has no possibilities to feel herself plenty accomplished as a woman.

There she lives behind a "curtain" because of the paralyzing atmosphere of the city, which doesn't either provide her with the possibility of changing her status.

In particular Joyce uses two different pronouns to characterize her figure: in the first part he uses mainly female pronouns like "she, her" while in the second part neutral pronouns like "it" prevail. 



Words reference

DRAB Adjective
1. dingy, dismal, drab, drear, dreary, gloomy, sorry depressing in character or appearance
2. drab, sober, sombre lacking brightness or colour
3. drab, dreary lacking in liveliness or charm or surprise
1. invent, contrive, devise, excogitate, formulate, forge come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort
DINGY Adjective
1. dingy, dismal, drab, drear, dreary, gloomy, sorry depressing in character or appearance;
2. thickly covered with ingrained dirt or soot
3. (of colour) discoloured by impurities; not bright and clear; "dirty" is often used in combination
1. remembrance, recollection, anamnesis the ability to recall past occurrences
1. control: the act of making something
2. functioning state: the state of functioning or of being in effect
3. something done: something that is carried out, especially something difficult or complex
1. the set of tools and machines that you use for a particular scientific, medical, or technical purpose: equipment (U)
2. the way in which a lot of people are organized to work together to do a job or control a company or country: machinery (C)
SUITED Adjective
1. outfitted or supplied with clothing
2. appropriate, suitable, suited
3. meant or adapted for an occasion or use