Character Analysis of James Joyce' Eveline

1446 words 6 pages
Nick Tomlinson
English 122 Ms. Purvis
An Analysis of a Promise
The short story written by James Joyce “Eveline” is about a young lady who lives her life in a promise. The promise is to her mother, who had passed away, that no matter how bad the family became, she would always keep it together. At a significant point in Eveline’s life, she was given the opportunity to leave the family and start a family of her own. Although Eveline is miserable with her life, she runs from Frank with no love in her eyes and remembers the promise that she had made. Is it that she did the right thing in keeping her promise, or was it that she wasn’t willing to leave the life she’s ever known. Though both ideas are relevant, it is strongly apparent
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She was trying to rationally weigh each side of the question was it to leave her home and her family, was it to pursue a better life with a man that was willing to hold her tight a man willing to give her a new life. When it truly came down to it she could find nothing to persuade her to stay, she could recall how her father “could be very nice”(618) yet the thoughts of him turning the abuse onto her, frightened her. The second weight of the idea is the promise that she made to her mother to keep the family together no matter what. Although, the idea of leaving her father was something she had trouble coming to terms with “Her father was becoming old lately, he would miss her”(618) at such an old age she couldn’t leave her father, now that one of her brothers had passed and the other moved away.
Ultimately Eveline wants to keep the deathbed pledge made to her mother but is alarmed at the prospect of sharing her mother’s fate. Her mother was ill-treated in life and Eveline vows that “she would not be treated as her mother had been.” She has had a life filled with hardship and chafes under her promise that she would keep the home together. When she recalls the life her mother had lived and the hardship she had dealt with, she becomes uncertain of what to do and prays “to god to direct her, to show her what was her duty.” It comes back to the idea that Eveline thinks