Love and Family
The short story “Eveline,” by James Joyce is a story of a young girl who must make a decision between an unhappy life that she is familiar and comfortable with and a life of possible happiness, love, and the unknown. If she leaves with the sailor she has become fond of, she would have the chance to run off to unknown fun, unlimited dreams, and the possibility of love, or the possibility of a life of solitude. If she chose to stay with her father who was abusive and unwilling to change his ways, she would most certainly have a life of predictability and unhappiness.
This made life with Frank sound more appealing. Also, Eveline had made a promise to her dying mother to take care of the home and her younger siblings for as long as she could. She would have to go back on her promise. Could she break a promise to her dying mother? The neighborhood she lived in was predictable and comfortable. She knew everything about it. As hard as the decision was, Eveline made the right decision to stay with her family because she is afraid to fail. Although Frank was a sailor that promised fun, dreams, and the ability to be happy, he could never make Eveline completely happy without love.
When they would meet in secret she would always have fun with him. He made her happy. They would go to shows and he would sing to her. He made her feel special, which was something Eveline yearned for. Frank was mysterious. He told her stories of the many things he would do on his travels. He told of how he traveled through the Straights of Magellan and of when he had fallen on his feet in Buenos Ayres. His stories were always elaborate and often seemingly unbelievable at times. He told her he would take her to Buenos Ayres; this is where they would live happily ever after.
He had a house waiting for her, he told her. She would be his wife. He never actually told her though, what would become of them or how they would survive. She knew Frank could give her life, but only perhaps love too. Eveline was not in love with Frank. At the end of this short story when she tells him good bye her eyes showed him no sign of farewell, or recognition, or love. When she decided to stay, Eveline knew what the rest of her life had in store with her family. Eveline was comfortable with her family and knew what to expect for the rest of her life.
She had food and shelter. Her father was abusive and demanding but, he was always there for her and her family. One time when she was sick he read her a story and made her toast by the fire. This shows that even if his actions don’t always prove it, he cares about her and loves her. She would have to give up her family to stay with Frank because her father did not like him. Once her father had quarreled with Frank, after that she had been forbidden to see him any longer. She loved her family.
It would be too difficult to give up on her family to be with a man she did not love. If she failed she would not have her family. Eveline never wanted to disappoint anyone in anything she did. If she left she would even disappoint her dead mother. Eveline had made a promise to her dying mother, on her death bed, the night she died, to keep the house together for as long as she could. This was hard for Eveline, but she knew it must be done. Eveline was the only person who could take on the task of caring for her siblings after her mother had passed away.
Her father was often in a bad way, and would become violent with everyone that he came in contact with. Eveline would give all her money to the family for what they needed and wished she could give more. If Eveline stayed she would have to continue to work hard to keep her family together, but it was familiar and did not threaten failure and loneliness. She knew what was expected of her and knew she could do it. She would go to work, come home, and take care of her family that was her routine. Eveline was comfortable.
She would work hard to keep her family together. She would not fail and she would forever be able to stay in the house she was familiar with and loved. Eveline was so accustomed to the neighborhood she lived, it had become comfortable. This was where she had grown up. She used to play in the streets and she knew everybody. She even knew the sounds of the people walking down the street, like the familiar footsteps clacking on the pavement of the man in the last house on his way home. She knew the familiar smells of the area. She was fond of the smell of her house.
Eveline often mentioned the familiar odor of dusty creatone. Everything in the house was familiar and she had wondered at times if she would ever see them again. She had never dreamed of being divided from them. She was unsure if she could leave and not come back. She would never be able to see these things again. This was something Eveline could never face. Eveline was a weak woman brought down by a man all her life. Eveline made the right decision by staying because she had no idea what was ahead and was too afraid of failure.
The risk of failure was too real. There were no promises of success. Eveline realized she only had one family and if you turn on them you have nobody left. If she were to fail with Frank she would have to fail alone, she than would have nobody to be there to help pick up the pieces. She would never again have the familiar sounds in the street, the house she grew up in, or her family. She would have to break a promise she made to her dying mother. Eveline did not believe it was worth the chance of failure. Eveline made the right decision to stay with her family.