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In "Eveline", why did James Joyce dedicate all these lines talking about the...

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hadjer | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted February 6, 2008 at 11:10 PM via web

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In "Eveline", why did James Joyce dedicate all these lines talking about the unknown priest?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 7, 2008 at 2:35 AM (Answer #1)

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The unknown priest appears to be significant for his absence.  As a representative of the Catholic Church, a powerful influence in Eveline's Ireland, he is remembered only from a "yellowing photograph".  Eveline's religion is not a beacon or comfort to her at this point in her life; it is not a living institution of community and human contact, but a set of rules to live by, deeply instilled but, in thinking about it, vaguely recalled.  Eveline is left with obligations and duties, "promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque", but does not have support from a thriving church to help her carry them out.  The church is exemplified by the nameless priest, who, like most everyone else, has emigrated to a place far away.

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