James Joyce Short Story Chapter

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Chapter Paper: #93312431 Related Topics: Short, Ireland, Aliens
Excerpt from Chapter :

¶ … Eveline describe her home? Her past? Why is her assessment of her past expressed as follows: "Still they seemed to have been rather happy then."

Eveline describes her past in nostalgic terms. She is nostalgic and wistful because she is leaving and though she is not particularly happy about her situation, it is all she knows. She also remembers the promise she made to her mother about looking after the family and that makes her decision to leave all the more difficult. Yet when she looks at how things have changed in her neighborhood and how alien her own home is to her, she feels that she has the right to leave -- as though now that the happiness of the past is gone it is time to look for it elsewhere (with Frank).

The narrator says, "It was hard work -- a hard life- but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life." Why is the life "Not wholly undesirable"?

Because it is her life, it is what she knows, it is a part of her. She has dedicated herself to a purpose and though the purpose is difficult and very trying there is a saintliness about seeing it through -- plus the secret joy one gets through sacrifice.

3. Why is her promise to her dying mother affecting her when she thinks about leaving?

The promise affects her because she made it sincerely. It was not an empty promise. But now that...

...

Can she really take no more? Is a life with Frank and the great unknown really better than what she knows here and now? Where is her duty -- that is what she ultimately asks God before leaving aboard the ship. Her memory of her promise to her mother relates to this sense of duty she feels.

4. Consider the words Eveline selects to describe what she hopes Frank will do: "Take her in his arms, fold her in his arms. He would save her." How do these words and phrases indicate Eveline's needs?

Obviously, she feels a need to be loved. She wants to be loved, and this is natural for her. There is no real selfish motive in this, only the natural desire of a woman to be loved. However, she also feels the weight of her "duty" and that impinges on her desire to be loved. Frank is both savior (from her "duty") and threat (to her "duty") -- so he brings up in her these conflicted feelings.

5. How is Eveline "like a helpless animal" at the end of the story?

It appears that she is like a helpless animal because she cannot make a decision to leave her life in Ireland for a dream in Buenos Aires. She is caught between duty and desire, like a creature in a hunter's snare. Duty pulls her back. Desire pulls her on. She remains, seeing nothing, showing nothing, as though her will had been crushed by these two equally strong impulses.

6. Why is the picture of the priest important to Eveline's family? How do they think of the departed priest? How is Eveline's possible future linked to the picture?

The priest is important because he is an old friend of her father's -- but she has never in all these days (she is 19) learned the priest's name, which indicates the alienation that exists within the home. Someone so special that his picture hangs on the wall, yet one of the persons who has seen this picture every day of her life doesn't…

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