What are examples of moral paralysis in "Eveline"?

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This is an interesting consideration. Moral Paralysis is widely used as a political term; it typically refers to a condition of countries and governments, rather than individual people. The term was originally coined to describe the inaction of France and other Western European countries as Germany very obviously built up its military while planning for the events of World War II. It is seen as a paralysis that is brought on by a conflict between moral and consequential thinking, and it is often met with blame after the fact.

While James Joyce's "Eveline" has little to do with matters of state, it could be said that the titular character does experience something quite analogous to a moral paralysis. Over the course of the story, as Eveline is recalling all the events that have made her resent her family and want to run away with her lover, the reader assumes that she is steeling herself for her betrayal and talking herself into going through with her escape. However, it becomes more obvious that she isn't truly making any tangible decision. She has simply said "yes" to two conflicting forces and is waiting, horrified, for any eventuality to happen. Yes, she has written a letter to her father, whom she will presumably abandon, but only because, to obey the will of her lover and her inner voice telling her to seek freedom, writing that letter is a necessity. She obeys both sides for as long as she possibly can.

Of course, when the moment comes to finally make a choice, she is absolutely frozen, unable to get onto the boat because it means choosing a side. She stands still while her lover and the idea of freedom leave her forever, and she presumably returns to the only life that is left for her.

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