In the story "Eveline," a young girl is at first eager to escape her dreary life with a lover who plans to marry her and take her away to Buenos Ayres. Yet as she contemplates her life, she becomes more and more reluctant to leave. Her father is a greedy, abusive alcoholic, but she starts to remember the pathetically few goods times she had with him as a child. She tries to reassure herself that he's getting old, and isn't so bad after all, even though she fears his violence and he has violently shaken her several times. Her self-deception keeps her from fully recognizing the miserable trap her life in Ireland has become. A street organ reminds her of a promise, that she made to her dying mother to keep the family together. But she also remembers her mother going mad right before her death--this implies that Eveline has only imagined this promise, perhaps creating it in her mind to justify her staying. Yet, she also feels that her current life is a trap that she is desperate to escape. Her emotions swirl so powerfully within her that she becomes paralyzed with dread as her ship is about to leave, and she refuses to board it with her lover. By remaining behind, Eveline has doomed herself to her mother's fate. The ship stands for the hope of immigration, but Eveline is stranded on the docks, unable to even bid her fiance farewell, or give him a sign of love. Eveline's paralysis reflects the economic and political paralysis that Joyce observed in Ireland.
"The Sisters" and "An Encounter"
"After the Race" and "Two Gallants"
"The Boarding House"
"A Little Cloud" and "Counterparts"
"Clay" and "A Painful Case"
"Ivy Day in the Committee Room"
Blogs for James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:Chapter One