The Analysis Of Short Story "Eveline" By James Joyce Essay

The story “Eveline” by James Joyce is about his life and how he overcame various challenges. At the age of twenty, he rejected his Irish Catholic Church after which he left his homeland. Upon leaving his home, he pursued a writing journey and mainly focused on Dublin, which was his native. Through his writing, he communicated to his audiences about his homeland.

The author has also put other characters in the short story where he describes the actives of Eveline. Through Eveline’s life, James Joyce portrays how life can be unfair and out of control if we do not take action into our hands. It also shows that it is important that people be caring despite the difficulties in life. The communication is evident through the thesis where he uses the struggles of Eveline to deliver the message. This paper will, therefore, illustrate that everything in life depends on the actions we take and how we respond to situations.

The short story tries to communicate to the audience that happiness has always existed in the environment but human behaviors have destroyed the surroundings. For instance, while at the window, Eveline was having memories of when they used to play in the fields with other children. At the time, they had a lot of fun since they could often interact and socialize. However, while looking through the window, all she could see was a bright brick house with shining roofs. The field had long been bought by a man from Belfast. By constructing the building, there was no place left for the children to play and this took away the happiness and fun of the children (McMahan, Elizabeth and Funk, et al. 3)

In this case, the short story is an illustration of how our capitalistic ideas have taken away joy from our lives. Apart from the surroundings, the people around us always determine our content with life and the happiness and challenges it brings. Life was easy and happy when Eveline’s mother was alive. However, after she died, Eveline was tasked with the responsibility of taking care of her siblings. Eveline’s father had become abusive and the happiness she had was long gone. For this reason, she was contemplating leaving their home. However, the decision sent her into deep thoughts. She was wondering of what people would say of her when they learned she had left. At her age, she was mature and needed a companion. As Eveline was in love with a fellow, she wanted to run with him without anyone noticing. As a result, she also had to abandon her job, which she was used to most of her working years. Also, Eveline thought of the people she was used too and how they would react. The thoughts troubled her and she could not find peace (McMahan, Elizabeth and Funk, et al. 3-4).

Among the people, she felt her decision would affect, her boss at the workplace was not one of them. The employer’s name was Miss Gavan and was always against her and especially when people were listening. The mistreatment by Miss Gavan made Eveline feel disrespected and this contributed to her unhappiness. James Joyce thus tries to show that our treatment towards other people significantly affects the way people think and feel. When people are treated inappropriately, they do not find value in life. If people are rude to their subordinates, they see them in a negative light and this has a negative impact on their life. The author thereby indicates the importance of being compassionate towards others. It is the only way that they can value the job they do or the people around them. The situation is evident as Eveline thinks that leaving her job would not her. On the contrary, she believed that it would be the beginning of a new life where people would respect her decisions (McMahan, Elizabeth and Funk, et al. 4).

Being married to her seemed as the only solution to the existing problems. Although being married gave Eveline a sense of safety and self-worth, she felt endangered. Eveline experienced the mistreatment of her mother by the father and this gave her shivers. The violence of her father had affected her psychologically and could not picture herself in such a situation in marriage. In this case, she had no one to turn too whenever the father would turn against her since the brothers were dead and one of them was far away. The experience portrayed by Joyce is an indication that the immediate environment always has an influence on the internal and external behaviors of the individuals (McMahan, Elizabeth and Funk, et al. 5).

It also affects the psychology of people since it is impossible to forget such experiences. The means people use to handle problems is also a determinant of their future and extent to which the issues can be solved. From the stress and violence that Eveline experienced, she resorted to party life where she squandered all the money. At some point, she even thought that she had no head due to the constant party behaviors. Despite the responsibility of taking care of the young siblings, Eveline still went out and came home late. Although the brother knew of the bad behaviors, he still sent money to her to ensure they were well McMahan, Elizabeth and Funk, et al.5-6).

The author, in this case, tries to make the audience understand that problems cannot be solved by finding substitutes. The only way they can solve the problems is by facing the issues head-on. For instance, Eveline seemed happy when she decided to get married to Frank, who was an openhearted individual. It is at this point that she decided to face the problem and her happiness appeared for the most part of her teenage life. Additionally, the kind-hearted nature of Frank made Eveline happy and this is the message that the author has been communicating (Saleem, Hayat, and Malik, 197). Being positive towards other people in the society captivates their mood and self-worth.


Conclusively, it is evident that the actions we take and how we respond to different situations considerably influences our life. James Joyce uses the life of Eveline as an example of portraying how human actions and behaviors affect others in the community. The actions of Miss Gavan had significantly affected Eveline feelings and thinking. By having an edge on her especially when other people were listening made her feel disrespected. The situation affected her self-esteem and this made her grateful when she was about to be married. Through marriage, she felt that the respect for her by those around would be redeemed.

Also, the mistreatment of her mother by the father had affected her psychologically. It made her be paranoid about marriages and this is a message communicated by the author on respecting people in the community. The short story thus communicates to the audience on the importance of valuing our life and also showing the same affection to others. It is the only way that individuals can be happy in the community and embrace the environment.

Works Cited

  1. McMahan, Elizabeth, Funk, Robert, and Day, X., Susan et al. “Literature and the writing process”. Eleventh Edition. 2015.
  2. Saleem, Muhammad, Mazhar Hayat, and M. Asghar Malik. “Analysing the Paralysis Phenomenon in ‘Eveline’ by James Joyce.” ELF Annual Research Journal 17 (2015): 197.

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