In "Eveline," why did Joyce dedicate all these lines to talk about the unknown priest?

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Early in James Joyce's short story "Eveline," the weary protagonist looks around the room,

reviewing all its familiar objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years,.... from which we had never dreamed of being divided.  And yet during all those years she had never found out the name of the priest who yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium...

Like much of Eveline's life, the photograph of the nameless priest is just there, without meaning.  Here her plight as an Irish woman is portrayed by Joyce:  trapped into a meaningless life, Eveline turns over her paycheck and is subjugated to her father, who is also abusive.  The priest was, at one time, a friend of her father's, but he has now gone to Australia and is never mentioned.  Only a "casual word" is given by the father when he "showed the photograph to a visitor."

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