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Strong Women in James Joyce's Eveline, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, and Spera's My Ex-Husband

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Strong Women in James Joyce's Eveline, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, and Spera's My Ex-Husband

"My Ex-Husband" by Gabriel Spera, "Eveline" by James Joyce, and A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen all feature strong women as central characters. These women show their strength by standing up for themselves, making self-sacrifices for the benefit of others, and rebelling against society's stereotypes.

The female persona in Spera's "My Ex-Husband" finds the strength to stand up for herself and her beliefs when faced with a cheating spouse. As the poem begins, the woman is preparing to leave on a date when her new beau notices a picture of the woman's ex-husband. She soon finds herself telling him the story behind their divorce. "He seems like any woman's perfect catch" (Spera 633), but she ultimately discovers that her spouse is disloyal to her, and he doesn't care "how slobbishly he [carries] on his affairs" (Spera 633). "Most women believe that if you love your partner, you wouldn't even be interested in an affair; therefore, if someone has an affair, it means that they don't love their partner and they do love the person they had the affair with" (Glass). The woman in Spera's poem feels that the man to whom she was married betrayed her, therefore she stands up for herself and leaves him behind.

Although it is not easy to pursue your dreams, it is even more difficult to give up those dreams for the interests of others. Eveline, the main character in James Joyce's short story by the same name, is torn between staying in her unhappy home with her father and leaving to find a life with her lover, Frank. Eveline made a promise to her dying mother "to keep the home together as long as she could" (Joyce 6). But because of her unfulfilling job and her verbally abusive alcoholic father, she begins toying with the idea of leaving with Frank. She believes if she goes with Frank, he will "give her life, perhaps love, too" (Joyce 6). Eveline is willing to sacrifice her chance of finding true love just so she can escape the confines of her life with her father. In the end, however, she chooses to keep her promise to her mother, and surrenders her dreams of a life of her own. Even though she desperately desires to leave, she finds the strength to stay in an unhappy situation so she can care for her father.
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