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Eveline: Trapped by Paralysis - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Eveline: Trapped by Paralysis. James Joyce’s short story, “Eveline” paints a tragic picture of psychological entrapment. The nineteen-year old protagonist, Eveline, lives a joyless life of hardship. Her life is one continuous grind of labor, unrelieved by the least comfort of companionship, leisure or affection…
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Eveline: Trapped by Paralysis

Download file to see previous pages... Eveline is trapped by unfortunate circumstance and is aware of her plight, but lacks the courage to break free. Eveline is trapped by domestic circumstance. Her mother is dead, leaving her to manage the household, having extracted “her promise to keep the home together as long as she could” (Joyce, 6). The only happiness she has ever known “was a long time ago” (Joyce, 5) in her childhood. She lives in a dilapidated house filled with musty odor, yellowing photographs and a broken harmonium. Her father is a drunkard who beat the children with his blackthorn stick when young, and now “had begun to threaten her” (Joyce, 5). Her brothers are not around to protect her. Her fear of her father’s violence gives her “the palpitations” (Joyce, 5). She is forced to wrangle money from her abusive father for the household expenses. She has to care for and feed her two younger siblings. She admits, “It was hard work – a hard life” (Joyce, 6). Her hardship extends to her workplace, where she is treated harshly. Eveline is trapped in misfortunes of her drab and joyless existence. Eveline is obviously aware of her adverse circumstances and of the possibility of the better life that she can choose. ...
Eveline’s affair with Frank offers her the opportunity to break free from the confines of her life. Frank is “very kind, manly, open-hearted” (Joyce, 6). He takes her to shows, calls her by the endearment “Poppens,” and offers to make her his wife and take her to Buenos Aires, where “he had a home waiting for her” (Joyce, 6). Eveline is conscious of the improvement in prospects that will follow her elopement and marriage to Frank: “People would treat her with respect then” (Joyce, 5). Fired by the urge to live and be happy, she is aware that Frank is her path to escape: “Frank would save her. Frank would give her life” (Joyce, 7). Eveline is in no way oblivious to the sorry circumstances of her life and the avenue of deliverance which is open to her. Eveline lacks the courage to break free from the shackles of her domestic situation. Her attitude towards escape is characterized by lassitude from the beginning of the story. On the eve of her planned elopement, she sits lethargically at the window pondering her life and future with a marked ambivalence. “Her time was running out but she continued to sit at the window” (Joyce, 6). She questions the wisdom of her planned elopement and appears to look for excuses to justify her unfortunate circumstances. She reviews the familiar objects in the house through the sentiment of familiarity, although they are drab and dusty. She lingers over the security of an existence in which “she had shelter and food” (Joyce, 5), but lives in fear of violence. She attempts to water down her father’s abuse, and threats of violence, by reminding herself that “Her father was becoming old lately --- he would miss her. Sometimes he could be very nice” (Joyce, 6). She makes herself ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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