How does Eveline tell Frank that she can't run away to Buenos Ayres with him in "Eveline"?

How does Eveline tell Frank that she can't run away to Buenos Ayres with him in "Eveline"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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She doesn't tell him anything; she just stands there, rooted to the spot at the dock while Frank's ship sets sail for Argentina. Frank wanted Eveline to come with him, to start a new life in a new country. But like so many of Joyce's characters Eveline's overcome by a crippling sense of paralysis. Once more, Joyce is engaged in a withering critique of contemporary Ireland which he sees as provincial, backward, stuck in the past. Frank represents what Ireland could be: bold, adventurous, willing to reach out to the rest of the world. Unfortunately Ireland is more like Eveline, unable and unwilling to break free of its cultural and intellectual paralysis and take its rightful place among the international community of nations.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Eveline never speaks a word to tell Frank that she can't run away to Buenos Ayres with him; it is her actions, or rather, her complete inertia, that communicates this fact to him. 

In the last scene of the story, Eveline is standing with Frank at the dock, in "the swaying crowd", waiting to board the boat that will take them across the sea.  Their passage has been booked, but when the boat's bell clangs and Frank seizes her hand, she draws back, snatching her hand away and gripping the iron railing with both hands "in frenzy".  He calls to her to come, but she cannot respond, and when they are shouted at to board, Frank rushes beyond the barrier that is closing to them and calls to her to follow.  Eveline can only "set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal".  She cannot follow him, and "her eyes )give) him no sign of love or farewell or recognition".

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