What are the similarities between "Eveline" and "The Boarding House"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The most striking similarity between the stories is the stifling gender roles under which the women live in each.  Eveline and Polly both live in households where women must do all that needs to be done with little help from drunken, "disreputable" fathers.  The only escape available to the young girls is marriage.

Both Eveline and Polly are carefully regulated in their courtships by their family members and society as a whole.  When Eveline's father found out about Frank, he "had forbidden her to have anything to say to him", and though Polly's mother's intention was to give her the run of the young men", she steps in with all the fury of "an outraged mother" when her daughter is compromised.  Society also plays a singular role in limiting a woman's freedom.  When Eveline muses about leaving with Frank, she worries, "what would they say about her...when they found out that she had run away with a fellow", and Polly's mother "had all the weight of social opinion on her side".  Men do not labor under the same restrictions as women.  Frank has seen the world, and Mr. Doran has, "as a young man...sown his wild oats".

Eveline and Polly harbor "intricate...hopes and visions" of a better life, but neither of them are able to reconcile their nebulous dreams with reality.  Eveline is completely unable to take the steps to escape, and Polly proceeds with a sense of foreboding.

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