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What would be a good thesis for the short story, "Eveline"?

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tenpound | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:36 AM via web

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What would be a good thesis for the short story, "Eveline"?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 18, 2010 at 12:01 PM (Answer #1)

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Your thesis for the story, "Eveline," from Joyce's Dubliners would depend on your interpretation of the story and the approach you want to take.  I can suggest topics and research questions easier than I can write a thesis for you (especially without more information on what you have in mind). 

Some possible topics include:  isolation, responsibility vs. freedom, paralysis, the relation of "Eveline" to other stories in Dubliners, illusion and reality, emigration, and epiphany.  This list is not exclusive.

Research questions might include:

  • In what way is Eveline paralyzed?
  • What is Eveline's motivation for staying?
  • How does Eveline's isolation relate to the isolation of the protagonist in "Clay" or "A Painful Case"?
  • Does Eveline in any way compare to Joyce himself, who lived much of his adult life away from Ireland?
  • What is Eveline's epiphany, and does it come too late or too early?

These are just some ideas of what you could focus on.  Answer a research question and that could be your thesis.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:55 AM (Answer #2)

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The first two paragraphs of the story provide evidence of elements that lead Eveline to meditate about the past and to contemplate the possibility of change in the future. An interesting section is the paragraph that comes before the major cut in the narrative, (“She stood up...”), that defines the emotional clash between the forces of change and tradition going on within Eveline’s mind. This paragraph motivates the reader to examine the emotional impact of the forces that drive Eveline toward the possibility of change and her urge to escape and construct a new life and a new sense of self.

If you could find one, two or three things that reveal an emotional clash between the forces of change and tradition going on within Eveline’s mind; you would have a great thesis.

You can use some social conditions that are highlighted in this story are:

1) The life of unmarried and married working middle-class people like Eveline and

2) Family and societal pressures

3) Male drunkenness and its consequences for the Irish family

4) Intellectual and economic paralysis

5) Irish attitudes towards religion and sexuality

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