Response Sketch: James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’

Response Sketch: James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’ My first thought after finishing ‘Eveline’ was “that’s it? ” I felt that the story was lacking in information: I hardly knew anything about Eveline’s father, how did Eveline’s mother die, and how did her brother Ernest die. If I do not know anything about the people in Eveline’s life how am I supposed to know anything about Eveline? Which turns out to be my overwhelming feel of Eveline, I do not know anything about her. Perhaps ‘Eveline’ should instead have been called ‘Frank’ since that is the character I know the most about.

About halfway through ‘Eveline’ I thought I had figured it out; ‘Eveline’ is a metaphor for high school student’s transmission into college. I came to this thinking because Eveline speaks of how life at home is bad on page 4, “her father was not so bad then; and besides, her mother was alive then” and “she had to work hard, both in the house and at the business. ” On page 5 Eveline begins to talk about how her father would take her money and how she became the mother of her mother’s two youngest children. I thought that Eveline’s feelings about living at home were similar to that of many high school student’s just being sick of everything.

Also on page 4 Eveline begins to speak of her new life with Frank, “in her new home…people would treat her with respect then. ” I do not think my first impressions could have been more off. Eveline then speaks of how she met Frank, how he looked at the time, Frank’s adventures, and how he made her feel like she was worth something when he took her to see Bohemian Girl. After this, Eveline talks about how she started getting nervous about running off and marrying Frank. I felt that feeling would be totally normal, running off and marrying Frank is without a doubt a life changing event.

The last couple paragraphs of ‘Eveline’ totally lost me. Eveline started to pray to God to direct her to her duty, should she stay at home or should she run off with Frank? I guess God answered her prayers because seemingly out of nowhere she gets this overwhelming feeling that she cannot go with Frank because he is drowning her by pulling her into “the seas of the world that tumbled about her heart. ” This ending does not fit with me at all. Works Cited Joyce, James. “Eveline. ” In Literature and the Writing Process, by Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day and Robert Funk, 4-7. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.