Discussion Topic

The relationship and character descriptions of Eveline and Frank in "Eveline"

Summary:

In "Eveline," Eveline is depicted as a young woman torn between duty and desire, while Frank is portrayed as her suitor offering an escape from her oppressive life. Eveline is conflicted and paralyzed by fear and obligation, whereas Frank represents freedom and the promise of a new life, highlighting Eveline's internal struggle.

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What is the nature of Eveline's relationship with Frank?

The relationship between Eveline and Frank is in many respects a strange one. There is a suggestion that there's a difference in class status between the two, with Frank coming from a higher social background than Eveline. When Frank takes Eveline to the theater, for example, it's instructive that they sit in a section with which Eveline is wholly unaccustomed.

As well as disparities in income and class, there's an emotional gap too. There's no sense that Eveline is really in love with Frank, at least not very deeply. At best, she appears to see him as a means of escape from a drab, miserable home life. Yet even then, she's not so enthusiastic about the prospects of life with Frank as to up and run off with him to a far-off, distant country. At the same time, we can't say whether Frank has especially deep feelings towards Eveline, either. Perhaps he feels pity for her in some way; perhaps he sees himself as a knight in shining armour, saving a damsel in distress from the imprisonment of her daily life. We simply don't know for sure.

But one thing that we can say with a fair degree of confidence is that the uncertain nature of Eveline and Frank's relationship is reflected in their final parting, which, for both of them, hints at yet greater uncertainties to come.

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What is the nature of Eveline's relationship with Frank?

Eveline and Frank have an interesting, unclear relationship. We learn early on that Eveline seeks escape. The death of her mother has left her as the sole caretaker of her father, and her one living brother is no help. She feels trapped, and Frank represents a way out. She dreams of leaving with him to go abroad and starting anew.

There is not a lot of information about Frank’s feelings toward Eveline; we get the sense that he is looking forward to a future with Eveline, but whether his feelings are deep and long-lasting aren’t known. When Eveline sees the ship that they are supposed to leave on, she becomes overwhelmed at the prospect of actually leaving her father behind. He is not a nice man and she knows he won’t treat her well, but she had promised her mother that she would care for him and the home after her mother died, and the reality that she is now facing hits her hard. Rather than moving forward toward a life which could grant her freedom, she chooses to stay and fulfill what she sees as her obligations. Frank is confused and then upset, but again we don’t get insight into whether this will be a major loss for him. As for Eveline, although she is resigning herself to an unwelcome fate, she is practically emotionless as she and Frank separate for the last time.

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What are the characteristics of Eveline and Frank in "Eveline"?

Eveline is clearly hardworking. She not only works full time at a local store, but she also looks after her father and does household chores. When her mother died, she was responsible for her two younger brothers, Harry and Ernest, and had to ensure that they went to school regularly and also had regular meals. She is also tired—for obvious reasons. Taking care of everything is an exhausting responsibility.

It is also evident that Eveline is respectful and dedicated. Although it is clear that she argues with her father about money, especially on Saturday nights, she seems to have given up; she hands over her entire wages. She also appears to have been bearing the brunt of Ms. Gavan's abuse at the store. Eveline's demeanor in these situations suggests she has a strong character. The fact that she has now decided to leave behind everything she has ever known accentuates this.

The story does not mention her having been involved in any relationships before the one with Frank. This implies that she is naive and inexperienced. She easily falls for his charms and believes his promises.

Frank, in contrast, is a well-seasoned traveler. Because he is a sailor, he has been all around the world and has obviously gained much life-experience. He loves the arts and enjoys music. The fact that he took Eveline to see The Bohemian Girl at the theater alludes to his own Bohemian lifestyle.

Frank seems to be a free spirit who has now decided to settle down. He states that he has "found his feet in Buenos Ayres," which means that he has grown familiar with the place and has grown confident being there. One cannot be quite sure about his intentions and can only assume that he has, possibly, fallen in love with Eveline. She does not seem to doubt his sincerity. He is clearly a charmer, for he has persuaded her to give up everything and go to Buenos Aires with him and start a new life.

It is sad to discover that Eveline does not seem to have enough willpower to leave behind her entire life and start a new one elsewhere. At the end of the story she seems to refuse leaving. She clings to the iron railing when they have to board the ship and ignores Frank's cries for her to join him.

He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.

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What are the characteristics of Eveline and Frank in "Eveline"?

Eveline has been left a lot of responsibility at so young an age. She made promises to her mother to look after her father and two small children. She also works outside the home. Both her boss and father boss her around, and her father is abusive and degrading. Frank tempts her to flee and run away with him because it would be an escape from her grim life. She is also very young and naive, so it weighs heavy on her conscience that she would be creating a scandal by running away, and also breaking her promise. Her naivety also shows in her being dazzled by Frank, who she barely knows. Her limited contact with men and dating causes her to be unaware of how risky such an action would be.

Frank comes across as a savior. He is more worldly, and obviously sees that Eveline would be easy to manipulate. The reader must decide if his intentions are sincere or not. He stuns her with his tales of life as a sailor, all the exotic areas he has visited, and his promises to give her a new and exciting life. His adventures lead Eveline to see him as sophisticated and charming, which is a direct contradiction to her father.

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How is Frank described in "Eveline"?

Possessing a face bronzed by the life of a sailor, Frank is a lodger at a house that Eveline passes on the main road. She finds him "kind, open-hearted, and manly"; he is fond of music and often sings. Because he is a world-traveler, his tales of faraway lands intrigue Eveline.

After they begin to see each other, Frank meets her outside the store where Eveline works. Since he loves music, he takes her to The Bohemian Girl, a light, romantic opera. Always he tells her tales of his sea-faring adventures, naming the ships on which he has sailed and describing the places he has been.

He had fallen on his feet in Buenos Ayres, he said, and had ome over to the old country just for a holiday.

Frank invites Eveline to join him when he returns to Buenos Ayres, a thriving city that has attracted many European immigrants and adventurers. However, the slang expression "Going to Buenos Ayres" means taking up a life of prostitution. So, perhaps, Eveline's father is aware of this meaning because he has forbidden his daughter from seeing Frank, with whom he has also had a quarrel. "I know these sailor chaps," he has told Eveline.

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