James Joyce’s story “Eveline” depicts characters that suffer from a state of paralysis caused by realities of their family life, social conditions, economic situations, and the Catholic Church. Discuss the impact of these realities on the lives of the main characters in the story. Make sure you provide specific examples from the texts to support your discussion.

In Joyce’s “Eveline,” the title character may be considered as being in a state of paralysis because she opts to stay rather than emigrate. Eveline’s loyalty to her father and to her mother’s memory, as well as the family’s low economic status, combine to keep her in Ireland. Catholic faith combined with conventional attitudes discourage her from defying her father, which she would do if she went with Frank.

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The idea of paralysis could be explored in an essay about “Eveline” through the title character and her parents. Because Frank decides to leave, it would be difficult to argue that he is in a state of paralysis. All four conditions mentioned are strong influences on Eveline. An essay that considers her parents as well could address the impact of limited income on how they raised the children and on Eveline’s continued loyalty to her father. The influence of the Catholic Church could be analyzed through the young woman’s devotion to Saint Margaret Mary.

Although Eveline is presented with the option of marrying Frank and leaving Ireland, she decides to stay home with her father. Author James Joyce presents her loyalty to her parents as a primary reason for her decision. Although her mother is dead, Eveline’s devotion to her mother’s memory strongly influences her to stay home and care for her alcoholic father.

The overall social situation in Dublin overlaps with the economic situation of the family. Eveline’s income is needed to maintain the family home, in part because of her father’s excessive drinking. As a woman, she also seems stuck at home because her father disapproves of Frank and would not give his blessing to their marriage. The social pressure of Catholic morality works against her defying her father. An essay addressing family life could incorporate the mother as a role model who influenced her daughter’s stoical attitude.

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