Unit 1 Review Essay
Dying to leave, needing to stay
Eveline, the main character of Joyce’s short story in Chapter 1, has a chance to leave her musty, mundane life at home to travel the world with Frank but decides to stay because her family needs her. She made a dying promise to her mother that she would “keep the home together as long as she could”, she had to help support her family and most importantly she had to see that the two young children were taken care of if she left, her father would have new responsibilities. Eveline decides that it is more important for her to stay and be miserable than it would be for her to be free and happy.
Eve line’s promise to her mother was most likely ...view middle of the document...
She handles all of the house responsibilities. Eveline feels the need to stay to help her father. She describes him as “becoming old lately and would miss her” .She describes how sometimes he could be nice by reading her a ghost story or by making her toast by the fire. She worked at a job that she hated and gave her father all of her earnings. Her father refused to give her any money to spend on herself and would accuse her of squandering money while he went out on Saturday nights gambling and drinking.
She hesitates to leave the children she feels responsible for. She feels responsible for these young children who had been left to her charge to make sure they went to school regularly and got their meals regularly. If Eveline left, she doubts her father would be able to take care of the kids, make sure they are fed and go to school. She has done so much for the family thus far. Eveline is afraid that no one can take care of these kids like she does; she feels they may be neglected and she will feel guilty about this.
By staying home, Eveline can continue to keep the house together, help support her family and take care of the children. The guilt and fear of leaving will be too much for her to handle. She will worry too much about the children and her father to enjoy herself. She will think about what her mom asked her to do and feel guilty for leaving. She lets Frank go and stays behind, in the unhappy, dusty house that she had lived in for years. She will continue to do the same miserable routine every day, dream about the outside world but refuse to leave.
Joyce, James. “Eveline” Literature and the Writing Process
Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Prentice, 2007. 3-7