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Eveline Essay

807 words - 3 pages

In the short story "Eveline" by James Joyce, the title character Eveline is fearful of making a
change in her life by moving with her boyfriend Frank from her homeland of Ireland and making a life with him in Buenos Ayres. Joyce illustrates that one of our most inherent qualities as humans and one that Eveline displays is that we are resistant to change. Through Eveline's relationships with her father, Frank and various peripheral relationships, Joyce demonstrates to us how Eveline has come to have certain beliefs about change.

There is overwhelming evidence in Eveline's life that change is good, yet she continues to resist it. Eveline saw her mother make many common sacrifices and give up her freedom of choice in everyday life. She learned, by looking back at her mother's life, that a life without adjustment, while not wholly undesirable, is in fact not a life of comfort. She contemplates her freedom to change. She could leave with Frank; maybe he would save her. However, in the end, she chooses the same path as her mother and, due to her fear, essentially squelches her own opportunity for change with a life of sameness.

Eveline's relationship with her father certainly adds to her fear of change. Her father tries to stop her from changing many times in her life. He demonstrates to her how he fears and thoroughly dislikes change of any kind. In her life as a young child he expresses his distaste for the changing demographic in their neighborhood, "Damned Italians!" Later, he discourages Eveline from growing into an independent woman by forcing her to fill some of the roles her mother used to fill such as caring for the house and shopping for and preparing the family's meals. He also discourages Eveline from growing into an independent woman by letting her know of his dislike for Frank. He quarrels with him and makes off-handed remarks about his profession. He does not want a worldly man such as Frank having any influence on his daughter. He believes that if Eveline did become serious with Frank he, as her father, would become a lower priority in Eveline's life. She would most certainly leave the house and quite possibly move far away, which would be yet another change the old man would have to endure.
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