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In the short story Eveline by James Joyce, Eveline is faced with a critical decision. She has decided, age nineteen, to escape her life of duty and hardship that has little prospect for improvement and escape to a better life in Buenos Aires with her "fellow," Frank. Eveline is conflicted in what she must do as she promised her mother before she died that she would "keep the home together as long as she could." She also has two young children that are in her charge whom she ensures attend school and eat well.
She has written a letter to her brother Harry and one to her father. Her father is a hard man, prone to violence, although, as a girl she had always been safe from his beatings - not so her brothers. Recently, she has begun to fear that her father might turn on her and she is safe only"for her dead mother's sake." Nonetheless, Eveline "did not find it a wholly undesirable life." Due to her deep sense of duty, her letter to her father will be more apologetic than anything and might include:
Today I must leave your home and start a new life far from here. I am grateful for everything you have ever done for me and know that you always did your best. Do you remember that picnic on the Hill of Howth and how we laughed when you put mother's bonnet on? What a wonderful day it was.
I am sorry if you think my decision is selfish and I know that you do not think Frank, as a sailor, is the best for me, but I can imagine a future with him and I will send for you when I am settled.
I remain your loving daughter...
It is just this influence that will, ultimately, prevent her from following her dream and she will remain behind.
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