Setting of Eveline in James Joyce's Dubliners

Setting of Eveline in James Joyce's Dubliners

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Setting of "Eveline"

 

The setting of the short story "Eveline" by James Joyce goes far beyond the physical characteristics. The setting goes past being located in Dublin, Ireland in an old room. The setting greatly influences Eveline in many different ways. The setting entraps Eveline in this short story.

The setting of the entire story is very plain. Nothing in Eveline's life ever seems to change. Most of the story takes place with Eveline sitting by the window in a very dull room. The room is filled with "the odor of dusty cretonne" from the curtains, and has a "yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium" (513). One would certainly not group these characteristics as exciting.

Similar to the room, Eveline's life is very plain. Eveline is a product of her environment. She is trapped in this setting and does not know any other way except the way things are now for her. Her internal struggle will not allow Eveline to leave the setting that she is currently in. Eveline was brought up in a social environment of strict adherence to tradition and obedience. Eveline is forced to remain in this setting because of the promise that she made to her mother. Eveline had a chance to escape all this, but she doesn't take it because she is very conservative, and doesn't know any other way. Eveline's promise to her mother seems to cripple her in this setting. She can't move; she can't get out of it!

Eveline feels that she must adhere to tradition and be obedient by living her mother's life. Eveline even says, "It was hard work-a hard life-but now that she was about to leave she did not find it a wholly undesirable life."(513) Eveline does want to get away from this setting, but she simply does not know any other way. Eveline tries to trick herself in to thinking that life isn't that bad. However, in reality she simply seems to greatly fear change because she doesn't know change.

Dublin has become a part of Eveline. The setting is the only thing that gives Eveline a sense of security. She is too afraid to leave this setting; she is trapped. In Ireland, "she had those whom she had known all her life about her (512).

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" Most of her peers have moved on to a new life now, but Eveline is forced to remain in the life of which she is accustomed to. She is trapped in the familiarity of her setting. The setting of the story greatly aids in the development of Eveline's character. Without the setting to portray her dull and plain life one would not be able to fully understand Eveline. Consequently, due to Eveline being trapped in the setting of the short story one is fully able to comprehend many things about her attitude and actions.
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