Response to James Joyce “Eveline”

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The focus this week is on setting, symbolism, and theme. All three of these elements are in Eveline a short story written by James Joyce. Eveline is a young woman who lives in Ireland with her father. Her mother is dead, and her brothers and sisters have either died also, or created a life of their own. Eveline’s father plays a big part in the story, since it seems like he, and the promise Eveline made to her mother, are the main factors behind Eveline’s thoughts and decisions. The story starts very slow and sad with the author using words like, “invade”, and “dusty”. Once this sad mood is set in the first paragraph, Eveline then begins to think back to her childhood. Through this reminiscing, we learn that her mother is dead, and her father is abusive (through her choice of the word “hunt” when she mentions how he would get them in from playing). Eveline, however, has a chance to escape her current life by leaving with, and marrying a sailor she has met and been secretly dating. The development of the story takes us through Eveline’s childhood, frustration with her job at the Stores, hints of her father’s possible Saturday night habits, her relationship and promise to marry Frank, and finally her last minute refusal to leave but instead to stay in her current situation. The setting plays a big part in Eveline’s actions. With the story taking place in Ireland during the early 1900’s, Eveline lives during a time when women were not seen as independent, while living in an already oppressed country. Symbolism was apparent throughout the entire story. The story starts by pointing out the “dusty cretonne”. Dusty could symbolize the aged way of life for Eveline, and how no matter how much she cleans (or grows), she’ll never get rid of the dust (oppression). She mentions that she doesn’t even know where it comes from, which means she’s lived this type of

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