Essay on The Modern Relevance of Themes in James Joyce's Eveline

Essay on The Modern Relevance of Themes in James Joyce's Eveline

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James Joyce is widely considered to be one of the best authors of the 20th century. One of James Joyce’s most celebrated short stories is “Eveline.” This short story explores the theme of order and hazard and takes a critical look at life in Dublin, Ireland in the early 20th century. Furthermore, the themes that underlie “Eveline” were not only relevant for the time the story was wrote in, but are just as relevant today.
The major theme explored in “Eveline” is the idea of order and hazard. In society, the idea of order has a lot more positive connotation than hazard. People often quote popular sayings such as “life is not always greener on the other side of the pastor” to indicate this belief. Contrary, the idea of taking chances is seen as dangerous. However Joyce in “Eveline” seems to be pushing the reader to give up their everyday routine, which is order, and instead take chances, hazard, to attempt to create a better life for themself.
Joyce sends this message through his main character in the story which is Eveline. Eveline is an individual stuck in the boring routine of life, but is given the opportunity to take a chance and possibly make a better life for herself by leaving Dublin and going to Buenos Ayres with a man who she loves named Frank. However, in the end, Eveline chooses to not take the opportunity given to her and instead decides to continue with the monotonous routine of her life in Dublin. Many authors of short stories allow the reader to make their own judgments of characters. However, Joyce decides to show his frustration with Eveline at the end of the story and judges her harshly. In fact, Joyce goes as far as to call Eveline a “helpless animal.”
The ending of “Eveline” leads to diffe...


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...ed, and is just as relevant today. People still struggle to break from their lives that are defined by routine, and therefore miss opportunities that come their way. Furthermore, alcoholism, which is looked at critically by Joyce, is still a large social problem today. Ultimately, Joyce is challenging the reader not to settle for the ordinary life.
In conclusion, one of the great short stories of the 20th century is James Joyce’s “Eveline.” The story breaks away from traditional thinking by making the case for hazard or taking chances over order and the routine of everyday life. Like his other stories in “Dubliners” Joyce uses “Eveline” as an avenue to share his frustrations with early 20th century Dublin. That being said, however, many of the themes in “Eveline” such as risk taking and the problem of alcoholism are still very much relevant today.

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