Feministic Aspects Of Life In James Joyce's Eveline

1852 Words 8 Pages
Eveline, the title character, is greatly affected by feministic issues typical of its period. By exploring Eveline’s relationships with men, the society’s expectations of her, and her obligations toward her family, James Joyce not only focuses on the theme of escape, but also the moral history of his country. Eveline, a nineteen-year old, is much like the young women of Ireland in the early twentieth century. Having lost her mother and an older brother, Eveline is obligated to take up much of the responsibilities of the household at a young age while taking care of a drinking father and avoiding his abuses. Despite all these, Eveline still treasures the memories of a happier time. She recalls lovingly of her childhood when she was allowed …show more content…
Eveline has lived in an abusive environment all her life, and this lifestyle, over time, has become habitual to her. She is so accustomed to living in constant fear that she doesn’t know any better. Eveline begins the story by recalling her childhood memories of having to keep watch of her father just to avoid a ruthless beating. “Even now, though she was over nineteen, she sometimes felt herself in danger of her father’s violence,” James Joyce writes. “Latterly he had begun to threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead mother’s sake.” In spite of these memories, Eveline stubbornly insists on the possibility of a happier life and that it’s not “too bad” (Joyce, 1). Instead of rebelling against her father and standing up for herself and the family, Eveline takes her father’s abuses silently and submits to his wasteful ways. Eveline willingly gives her wages to her father and takes whatever amount his drinking ways would spare to buy food for the family. Even though she’s deeply unhappy about his wasteful habits, Eveline’s habitual fear of her father takes over and she’s too afraid to even disagree with him. Similarly with Frank, she retains a passive attitude toward their relationship. Throughout their relationship, Eveline never shows any intense emotions for Frank. She simply accepts Frank’s pursuit and …show more content…
Before the success of the Irish suffrage movement, women were perceived as inferiors to men politically and domestically. Not only were women not given the rights to vote, they were also obligated to be the main support for their families and their men. For generations, women such as Eveline’s mother had suffered painful lives devoid of pleasure and respect. Even Eveline, a rebellious young woman, is largely affected by society’s expectations of women. She wonders what people of the town would think of her after they hear of her departure with Frank. “What would they say of her in the stores when they found out that she had run away with a fellow?” Eveline thinks, “Say she was a fool, perhaps.” Victim of the society, Eveline is forced to stay and take care of her family and sacrifice her own happiness. Furthermore inequality can be seen in Eveline’s relationships with men such as her father, her brothers, and Frank. Eveline’s father treats her differently from her brothers. Although she thinks she lucky to be spared from the physical abuses typical of the male children of the family, she is in reality the more unfortunate one who’s really stuck with dealing with her father. Unable to leave her home like her older brother, Eveline stays home to endure his abuses. Eveline’s relationships with men

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