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Eveline By James Joyce Essay, Research Paper


In the short story Eveline by James Joyce, the author challenges the morals of a young woman torn between desire and familial obligation. Joyce manipulates the theme of reflection as a tool for Eveline to make a life altering decision of staying in the comfortable atmosphere where she confined and controlled by her father and her boss, or to run off to the unknown with a man who loves her and offers her a life of security. This essay will analyze and explain the deixis, cohesion, process and participant type, discourse types and narrative structure in the text that enhance the emotion effect of the story.

Joyce approaches this story from a third person perspective and creates examples of stream-of-consciousness narration. When we read the only three indirect thought processes; ‘He is in Melbourne now.’(IS) ‘Miss hill, don’t you see these ladies are waiting?’(IS) ‘Look lively, Miss Hill, please. (IS)’we, the readers, are presented with outer observations only as they encroach on the continuous wave of thought, memory, feelings, and associations throughout the story. Joyce maintains an indirect thought process throughout the excerpt, referring to Eveline solely as she, her, herself, and adjusting the verb tense accordingly until he identifies her as Miss. Hill in paragraph six. Eveline throughout the story is a deeply feeble and compassionate woman. Sentences frequently project her as the powerless medium-t in material processes, and suggest that she is contemplating escape by watching the steady movement of others (Few people passed, she heard his footsteps clacking along…crunching… 2) while reflecting (watching, tired 1) on what she might leave behind, making the sensor in most mental processes. The opening sentence alone constructs implications of Evelines destiny, ‘She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue.’ The square shape of a window alone, represent the shape of a cell and hence the notion of confinement. Her act of penetrating the view expresses ideas of possibility, hope and distance. While the image of Eveline gazing out a window epitomizes a degree of consciousness, the evening lexically relates to the decline of consciousness. While evening is invading the avenue, Eveline is witnessing her life of promise, represented as daylight, return to the grim comfort of passivity.

The verbal tenses in this portion of the story remain consistent. They almost all contain past-tense verbs (She looked round, she had dusted, She had consented to). Five of the ten paragraphs begin with the personal pronoun she (in paragraph three, it is the second word), and in five of the paragraphs, the last sentence begins with she. The repetitiveness of cross-reference type of cohesion is to remind to reader that the she that opens the story is the same she throughout until the deictic reference is interrupted with introduction of ‘Miss Hill’ in paragraph six giving us the forgone assumption that Miss Hill and she are one in the same. It is not until the ninth paragraph that Joyce gives us a direct reference and introduces his heroine (she, Eveline) to his readers.


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