In "Eveline," what is the pattern or structure of the development of the plot?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two main sections that develop the plot in James Joyce's short story "Eveline." The first section (which also occupies the most physical "space" within the story) focuses on an interior study of Eveline herself, introducing us to her background, personal history, and inner thoughts and feelings. In this section, we learn that Eveline has to hold down a dead-end job to support her family, as her mother is dead. Eveline also has to do most of the housework, as her alcoholic and abusive father isn't prone to taking care of Eveline or her younger siblings. This section (which appropriately takes place entirely within Eveline's head) illustrates just how "stuck" the protagonist is, as it proves that Eveline has an unfulfilling life devoid of promise. 

The second section, which is much shorter, follows Eveline as she prepares to leave Ireland with Frank, a man she's been dating. However, though leaving with Frank ostensibly offers Eveline a chance to escape her miserable life, Eveline ultimately chooses to stay in Dublin. This section's primary purpose is to show that, despite her former desire to escape her oppressive existence, Eveline is either unwilling or unable to actually act, and so the conclusion of the short story displays just how tragically "stuck" Eveline truly is.