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What is the theme of the story "Eveline"?

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milado | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 13, 2008 at 8:30 PM via web

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What is the theme of the story "Eveline"?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted April 14, 2008 at 2:18 AM (Answer #1)

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There are several themes present.  Enotes refers to four in particular: paralysis, epiphany, stream of consciousness, and the state of Irish social and economic environments ("Eveline"). Paralysis means many things in the story. First, Eve barely moves in the story; also, she is destined to stay and do what she has been doing.  She isn't destined to be with Frank; therefore, she is paralyzed by her obligations to her dying father.  She cannot escape this paralysis or break free from it, though she longs to. Eve also has an epiphany when she hears her mothers voice utter “Derevaun Seraun" (Enotes).  The second epiphany is when Eve hears the clanging bell as she gets ready to depart for Buenos Aires with Frank.  She realizes she cannot leave. She is totally paralyzed and she cannot ignore her fate or fight her fate. Finally, stream of consciousness is a device used by Joyce frequently.  This is when a reader is given a procession of a character's thoughts as they are thinking of them.  Finally is the state of Ireland's social and economic life. Alcoholism was rampant during the time period of this story due to the Potato Famine in the late 1890's (Enotes).  Many people turned to alcohol to drown their sorrows and/or left the country for a better life, as Eve had planned to.

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