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

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Michael Del Muro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Eveline" is broken up into two parts: the first part consists of Eveline sitting at her window, reminiscing on her childhood and on her family, and the second part consists of her attempted escape with Frank. The first part of the story explains why her attempt to flee Ireland fails and highlights one the main themes of Joyce's Dubliners: duty.

In the first part of the story, the third-person narrator describes Eveline as she "leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired." Then the narrator goes on to describe the changes to the...

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mmckay22 | Student

As almost all of Joyce's work strives to do, Joyce's Eveline is an examination of the effects of British Colonization on the Irish populous. Eveline is an example of the social poverty of the Irish situation, told through the eyes of a young woman. Born into the destructive mores of Catholic patriarchy, from all directions Eveline is controlled and/or held stationary by men she encounters. Be it her alcoholic father and his unconscious desire to fill the gap left by Eveline's mother death, or the illusion of Frank, who seemingly offers an escape from the triviality of her responsibilities, but ultimately is another facet of patriarchal control, set merely in a context which is coded differently. The story represents the split between Irish popular consciousness and the illusory nature of the Catholic family structure, where work and responsibility largely falls on women, while the potential towards individual freedom is merely another movement towards entrapment. All this occurs in a region hopelessly tied down by an archaic belief and social structure, further exaggerated by a tradition that had been somewhat militarized in order to act as a retaliatory force against the invasive practices of the Protestant church. This militarization leaves Eveline standing on shore, unable to abandon herself to illusory freedom, yet unwilling to suffer the exploitation of her "Irish-ness", caught truly in the midst of a 'state-without-choice', a situation where freedom neither presents itself nor disguises itself. It is in this moment of pause, Eveline exists as the woman of neither Ireland nor Patriarchy, but standing in between the two, unmoored from decision, and therefore; exploitation-if only for a moment.