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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Joyce's "Eveline" and Emigration

"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" (Dubliners pg. 32, 165-168).

Eveline's indecisiveness prevails at the end of Joyce's story. When before she was excited at the notion of escape to an exotic place, once she arrives at the dock her certainty melts to uncertainty and then to a paralyzing trepidation. The urge to deliver herself from Ireland continues to exist but she cannot act on it. It "call[s] to her" but she does not answer. She no longer "recogni[zes]" escape as an answer; she does not bid the fleeting impulse "farewell." Eveline does not feel any kinship with the fleeing mob amassed at the dock. She is lost among them, immobile, unable to move away.

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