Paralysis in Eveline Essay

1314 WordsSep 24, 20146 Pages
Paralysis in Eveline “She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired” (Joyce 29). The first paragraph of James Joyce’s Eveline, introduces a young woman who is struggling with her inescapable, depressing life. The narrator grabs our attention as soon as this first paragraph and manifests the notion of paralysis. Paralysis can be defined as the loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, typically as a result of illness, poison, or injury; defined by the Oxford dictionary. In Eveline, Joyce uses the notion of paralysis to reveal the central theme of the story. Inability to act, to function properly or in other words to be paralyzed, illustrated by Joyce, is like a disease. Joyce demonstrates paralysis though the character Eveline by emphasizing on her relationship with her father, her lover Frank, and her relationship with her deceased mother. “Her father used often to hunt them in out of the field with his blackthorn stick; but usually little Keogh used to keep nix and call out when he saw her father coming. Still they seemed to have been rather happy then. Her father was not so bad then” (Joyce 29). Joyce’s first glimpse of the relationship between Eveline and her father, we find that she lives in the past through hanging onto somewhat of decent memories. This unveils that Eveline struggles with the relationship she has with her father and that the only thing that keeps her going is these treasured memories. She loves her father but she is afraid of him. It symbolizes paralysis because she is unable to move on from that position because of fear. She is stuck in the past and is not moving from there. Going back to the first paragraph, the word dust is mentioned. “Her head was leaned against

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