Summary of Eveline by James Joyce: The Burdens of Past

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

This is a story which tells about a young woman named Eveline who is from Dublin. She is currently taking care of her father and her brother since her mother has passed away. Eveline is in love with a young man named Frank, he is a sailor. Her father (who is not named in this story) doesn’t approve of Frank, in this story it doesn’t mentioned why her father doesn’t approve of him or what issues Eveline father has with him. However, despite how her father feels or what he thinks about Frank, she is planning on getting married to Frank without her father’s consent of knowledge. Eveline also plans on moving away with Frank despite her father’s disapproval of him. Since her mother’s passing, she had to step-up and become the woman of the house. She has taking the role and responsibility of her mother.

In this story we also learn that Eveline’s father is a drunk, which the drinking seems to have started after her mother passed. Not only is he a drunk but he abuses her verbally. Eveline shops for groceries at the expense of her father in order to feed the family. She has become fed up with her life, her father’s drinking and his verbal abuse plays a role in why Eveline is thinking about moving away from home. Frank and Eveline has plans to leave, they are supposed to board the ship. When it comes time to do it, she doesn’t have the strength nor the courage to board the ship and leave her life in Dublin including her father and her brother behind. She leaves the dock and returns to her home, Frank boards the ship alone without Eveline.

In this story, she speaks so much of her past that it appears she is unable to let go of the past which is the reason she is unable to board the ship and leave Dublin. Eveline drifts away in thoughts and explores her past and her possible future, she compares them both. She thinks about the life she has in Dublin and the possible life she could have if she was to leave with Frank. Many things have changed the instances Eveline mentions are things that have happened in the past such as those who have moved on and those who have passed away, many things have changed where Eveline lives. She becomes nostalgic as she reminisces about her past childhood and the happy times before her mother passed.

In the end, Eveline ends up staying in Dublin. The reason is unclear why she would stay given what she is going through, however, she is holding on to the happy memories she has there she doesn’t want to leave from those memories, also she has her father and her brother who she takes care of since the mother’s passing.


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