How is the Catholic Church represented in the story "Eveline" from James Joyce's Dubliners?

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In "Eveline," as in most of Joyce's short stories, the Catholic Church is presented in a distinctly unflattering light. This is entirely in keeping with Joyce's fervent conviction that the Catholic Church was, to a large extent, responsible for what he saw as Ireland's cultural paralysis.

The Church exerted a great deal of influence on Irish public life in Joyce's day and would continue to do so for many decades thereafter. For many artists and intellectuals like Joyce, such influence was wholly pernicious and held Ireland back from contributing to the European cultural tradition.

In "Eveline," the title character could be said to symbolize Ireland in that she too is held back by the Catholic Church. In her case, she is prevented from joining her lover for a new life in Argentina by a guilt complex, the kind often associated with Catholicism.

Eveline has made a number of promises to God that she is loath to break. Implicit in these promises is the notion of sacrifice; Eveline has spent...

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