How do I write a thesis statement about the the nameless priest whose photo hangs on the wall in "Eveline"?
Could you use the word "stasis" in your thesis staement on the short story "Eveline" from The Dubliners by James Joyce?
This state/religion paralysis or stasis that James Joyce reacted angrily against in the Dubliners collection is reflected in the way Eveline rejects change and a bright new life in favor of the reassurance of the status quo (endorsed/imposed by the church) however dusty and dead the sense of obligation and duty. Does the picture represent the fact that Eveline remained in an unappreciative home out of "Christian Duty" rather than real love? She herself may be torpid, weak and lethargic - her energy sapped by it. (She is told to "look lively" at her shop work.) She also appears stuck to the barricades at the embarkation barrier - held back by church/family/guilt?
The use of the priest as a symbol represents James Joyce's use of irony regarding his own belief system, and also denotes his personal battle against the religious establishment.
You can use that as part of your argument, and also place strength on the fact that Joyce's primary rejection of Catholicism was his anger about how secularization seemed to dominate the lives of people, keeping them stuck in their ways, and obstructing their pathways to modern thinking and progress.