Eveline is one of "the tragic Irish." Caught in a repressive environment to which she eventually surrenders pitiably, Eveline feels trapped.
Looming over Eveline is the yellowing photograph of the priest--suggestive of moral corruption--and the colored print of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Eveline has promised to care for her younger brother. Burdened with this obligation, Eveline also must endure the violence of her father. When she was younger, he went after her brothers, but now that they are gone, he has begun to threaten her. Further, on Saturdays Eveline is forced to hand over to her father the money she earns from working under the oppressive Miss Gavan at the Stores. Then, later, when her father comes home from the pub, he finally gives her money so she is forced to rush to the market before it closes.
In addition to her working hard at her job, there is much for Eveline to do at home: She must cook and clean, along with caring for two young children left to her charge.
It was hard work--a hard life--but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life.
She is tempted to go with a young man with whom she is in love, but her oppressive father has forbidden her to see him. Having seen her man secretly, Eveline contemplates escape from her oppressive life with her sailor. At the same time, however, Eveline remembers the promise to her mother to "keep the home together as long as she could" and to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque to take care of her young brother; consequently, because of the stormy, violent home life she has, she is torn between running away from this home-life and staying to struggle with it.