In "Eveline," why did Joyce choose specific names for the characters?

Quick answer:

The names of the characters in "Eveline" are significant to the story because they imply symbolism and irony. Joyce chose these names carefully, so we may never be certain whether his intentions were honest or not. I hope this has been a helpful guide to Joyce's short story "Eveline." I would love to hear your opinion on what you get from reading this story, so please leave comments below! If you found that the questions helped you explore the text further, I encourage you to try more of my free Study Guides here . Thank you very much for reading!

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Joyce carefully chose the names for the characters in the story "Eveline" and many other stories in Dubliners because he wanted to attach symbolism and irony to his characters, so that they are not only defined by their distinctness, but by universality as well. 

Two most prominent characters in "Eveline" that deserve attention are the protagonist, Eveline, and her lover, Frank. Our protagonist, Eveline, is given the name which means "little Eve," so we may interpret this in two ways. Firstly, Eveline can be associated with Eve, who was banished from the Garden of Eden with Adam because they could not resist temptation. So, symbolically, Eveline's connection with Eve is interesting because we can wonder whether Eveline will yield to breaking the rules like Eve did, or if she will be obedient and stay at home and be a dutiful daughter.

Secondly, the world "little" could relate to what an insignificant life Eveline has led all along. Her life is the sum of her completed duties. She longs to feel love and safety, but we learn that she does not possess enough courage to change her life for the better.

Frank, Eveline's lover, is presented as someone who could save Eveline from her oppressive daily routine and offer something more fulfilling. His name implies honesty and openness, but we cannot help but wonder whether his intentions are honest. Will he really save Eveline? Or will he "drown" her as she suspects at the end of the story? This honesty, attached to Frank's name, could be the product of Joyce's irony. But we can never be sure, of course.

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