The Emotional and Psychological Abuse in “Eveline”
In the story “Eveline” by James Joyce, the main character Eveline is a young daughter of an abusive father. He is not physically abusive though, he is emotionally abusive. The scares of emotional abuse, though invisible, hurt harder and run deeper than physical scars. The Emotional and physiological abuse of Eveline’s father causes her/leads her to become in a paralyzed state of denial insecurity and guilt. Evelines state of denial causes her to create illusions and to deceive herself about frank, her father, and her own strength.
Eveline deceives herself about her father to create the illusion that she is not really being abused, but rather that they are living a healthy and happy life. Rather than facing the truth that her father is a possessive and abusive man that treats her like she is an animal, Eveline would prefer to live in denial of that fact because she is not able to stand up to him and she is not physiologically capable to leave him either. This effect is so great that not only does she deceive herself when it comes to her father, but her self-deception extends towards all men as well.
Eveline also deceives herself thought the story talking about leaving her home as if it is a matter-of-fact. She portrays it to herself in this way in a desperate attempt to convince herself that it is true, though; her weak personality and self-esteem would never allow it. The word “Dust” is repeated in Eveline enough times that it is almost impossible to be overlooked by the reader. The setting of the story is in Dublin, Ireland. The large amount of rainfall in Dublin keeps the air and ground moist allows little room for dust to be spread around or accumulate.
In conclusion, the dust mentioned in “Eveline” was merely Eveline s illusion. She felt stuffy, uncomfortable and trapped but she couldn’t see it for what it really way, the resulting feeling of the situation she was in. Instead, she denied her situation and blamed this feeling on imaginary dust. Evelines fear of her father and the feeling that she is worthless and being a victim of the people around her makes hel insecure. Eveline s father is constantly threatening her and she is in afraid that one day he will have too much to drink or lose control of himself and beat her.
Her fear of her father makes her weak and helpless which leads her to become insecure. In “Eveline” Joyce mentioned a picture of her father’s friend, whose name Eveline does not know, that he has hung on the wall, and how he would pass it around to visitors when they were over. Her father is clearly fond of this man, yet he had never even mentioned his name to Eveline. This sends her the message that she is so worthless that she doesn’t even deserve to know the simplest and most general things about her father. This has a huge impact of the way Eveline views herself.
It is clear from this example that most of the insecurity Eveline is facing is caused by the abuse of her father. Evelines insecurity and low self-esteem leads her to become weak and indecisive. The people around Eveline take advantage of this quality and use it to control her. She does not fight for her rights and she does not object, thereby consenting to become a victim of the people around her. Eviline feels guilty because she is thinking of leaving her father, she feels that the abuse and the tough situation she is in is her fault. Thought the story eviline is constantly creating the illusion that her father is not so bad after all.
This is blinding her from the truth of the situation and causing her to feel guilty. The guilt she feels is a big aspect that holds her back from leaving with frank at the end of the story. Joyce mentions “coloured print of the promises made to blessed Margret Mary Alacoque” (Joyce, P. 4). Eveline lives a religious lifestyle and was raised with the stories of people like Margret Mary Alacoque. Margret Mary Alacoque loved the convent life, which is a strict life of commitment and hard work leaving very little room for fun and entertainment. A life Eveline can easily relate to.
Though not only did Margret Mary Alacoque love this life but she had impressed those around her and gained their respect by her devotion to it. Eveline viewed Margret Mary Alacoque as a role model. Yet, in her mind, she had not impressed those around her by her devotion to her hard life enough to gain their respect. Therefore she thought that the reason her father did not respect her was because she wasn’t devoted enough. Her home is so tightly bound with their religion that she unconsciously feels that leaving it means leaving her religion too. And this causes her to feel guilty.