Sunday, July 2, 2017

Eveline by James Joyce Review

James Joyce is widely known for his novel Ulysses, as tourists who were in Ireland say, this novel has a huge popularity in that country.

"Eveline" is a short story which focuses on the thoughts and feelings of the girl who tries to leave her hometown, probably Dublin, and go with her boyfriend to Argentina. She was going to do it, she found so many reasons to this big step in her life but she was undecided and eventually, she refused to leave home.

I was surprised reading comments in the social network "Goodreads". Most of the comments explained the feeling sorry for Eveline that she wasn't able to leave her place. I had another opinion: she shouldn't leave her family and friends. 

"She had consented to go away, to leave her home. Was that wise? She tried to weigh each side of the question". Let's divide the arguments for and cons of leaving hometown for Eveline and other inhabitants.

The place where she used to play was occupied by a new building, many her friends left town. "Everything changes. Now she was going to go away like the others, to leave her home."

Eveline had nothing to regret with her job (at least she thought so):
"What would they say of her in the Stores when they found out that she had run away with a fellow? Say she was a fool, perhaps; and her place would be filled up by advertisement. Miss Gavan would be glad."

The serious reason for leaving home was that she "sometimes felt herself in danger of her father's violence." But it would be an imaginary issue, I'm not sure that she's right in her thoughts "When they were growing up he had never gone for her like he used to go for Harry and Ernest, because she was a girl but latterly he had begun to threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead mother's sake." I could admit that she was mistaken, it looked like a childish feeling of offense but in reality, her father might love her.

They have a different terms of money, her father said that "... she used to squander the money".

She hopes for the better life with her boyfriend probably with her future husband. The author wrote, "She was about to explore another life with Frank." I think that the word "about" is important. It looks such as James Joyce wanted to show the ambiguity of the situation.

Eveline thought "Frank was very kind, manly, open-hearted" What is really important that she wasn't in love with him. Only she "felt elated" being with him.

Eveline made also a few statements which contradicted her previous thoughts. For example "Her father was becoming old lately, she noticed; he would miss her. Sometimes he could be very nice"

The final scene demonstrated the uncertainty of her intentions about so fundamental decision as a changing everything and for the call of Frank “Come!”, she answered "No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas, she sent a cry of anguish."

What would be the right decision for her? We don't know. Perhaps James Joyce left it for the reader's judgment.

Here are links to the text and audio of this short story:

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