In relationship to "Eveline", please give details about Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To understand Ireland at the start of the 20th century, you need to understand the Ireland of the 17th century.  Ireland was invaded by England in 1603.  In the following century, the native people were slowly stripped of their rights, their language, and their culture.  The focus of many of the restrictions were on Catholics, as Catholicism was the dominant religion in Ireland.  England, having once been predominately Catholic, was now Protestant.  The struggles in Ireland became a struggle of religions.

By the early part of the 20th century, there was a strong feeling of rebellion.  Years of fighting for rights and for Home Rule, years of legally appealing to the English government, had yielded few results.  Many people wished to rebel, but were fearful of losing and making things worsed.  By 1916, organized rebellion would take place.  Although this rebellion, known as the Easter Rising, would have little support from the common folk, it would be the spur that would canonize the desires of the people.  Thus, by 1922, most of Ireland was annexed from English rule.

Eveline is struggling against the tyrannical hold of an unfair leader - her father.  He fails to recognize her needs and continues to oppress her.  She dreams of rebellion, but seems to lack the impetus to go forward with her plan.  Therefore, Eveline is symbolic of the state of the nation itself.