Describe the characteristics of Eveline and Frank in "Eveline."

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eveline is clearly hardworking. She not only works full time at a local store, but she also looks after her father and does household chores. When her mother died, she was responsible for her two younger brothers, Harry and Ernest, and had to ensure that they went to school regularly and also had regular meals. She is also tired—for obvious reasons. Taking care of everything is an exhausting responsibility.

It is also evident that Eveline is respectful and dedicated. Although it is clear that she argues with her father about money, especially on Saturday nights, she seems to have given up; she hands over her entire wages. She also appears to have been bearing the brunt of Ms. Gavan's abuse at the store. Eveline's demeanor in these situations suggests she has a strong character. The fact that she has now decided to leave behind everything she has ever known accentuates this.

The story does not mention her having been involved in any relationships before the one with Frank. This implies that she is naive and inexperienced. She easily falls for his charms and believes his promises.

Frank, in contrast, is a well-seasoned traveler. Because he is a sailor, he has been all around the world and has obviously gained much life-experience. He loves the arts and enjoys music. The fact that he took Eveline to see The Bohemian Girl at the theater alludes to his own Bohemian lifestyle.

Frank seems to be a free spirit who has now decided to settle down. He states that he has "found his feet in Buenos Ayres," which means that he has grown familiar with the place and has grown confident being there. One cannot be quite sure about his intentions and can only assume that he has, possibly, fallen in love with Eveline. She does not seem to doubt his sincerity. He is clearly a charmer, for he has persuaded her to give up everything and go to Buenos Aires with him and start a new life.

It is sad to discover that Eveline does not seem to have enough willpower to leave behind her entire life and start a new one elsewhere. At the end of the story she seems to refuse leaving. She clings to the iron railing when they have to board the ship and ignores Frank's cries for her to join him.

He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eveline has been left a lot of responsibility at so young an age. She made promises to her mother to look after her father and two small children. She also works outside the home. Both her boss and father boss her around, and her father is abusive and degrading. Frank tempts her to flee and run away with him because it would be an escape from her grim life. She is also very young and naive, so it weighs heavy on her conscience that she would be creating a scandal by running away, and also breaking her promise. Her naivety also shows in her being dazzled by Frank, who she barely knows. Her limited contact with men and dating causes her to be unaware of how risky such an action would be.

Frank comes across as a savior. He is more worldly, and obviously sees that Eveline would be easy to manipulate. The reader must decide if his intentions are sincere or not. He stuns her with his tales of life as a sailor, all the exotic areas he has visited, and his promises to give her a new and exciting life. His adventures lead Eveline to see him as sophisticated and charming, which is a direct contradiction to her father.

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