When examining the work of Dennison, it becomes immediately apparent that she focused more on a literal examination of the work rather than examining it from a symbolic perspective. For example, in examining her explanation over the actions of Eveline, it can be seen that she focuses on Eveline’s fear of change and how people have become so used to their surroundings that they tend to desire change but in the end prefer to go about their daily lives in the same manner as before.
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From my point of view, I believe the character of Eveline is far more complex than what Dennison would have us believe. For me, she is a symbol of how women were like during the time of Joyce. What you have to understand is that from the period of 1882 – 1941, when this short story was created, women lacked the inherent freedom that they take for granted today.
At the time they were expected to conform to a particular manner of speaking, talking and acting as evidenced by the general subservience of Eveline toward her father which at the time of Joyce were quite common. Yet, what you have to understand is that many women during this period of time wished to be more than just housewives and mothers. They wanted to be free to pursue a wide range of possible careers, yet it was societal convention that kept such desires at bay.
In the short story, it can be seen that Eveline desired freedom as evidenced by her desire to travel, to avoid being like her mother and to experience new things. Such a case example manifested itself in women during the time of Joyce wherein despite the fact that they desired change and attempted many ways to do so in the end they could not act on such desires. The ending of the story itself implies that Eveline will most likely live out her life in service to her father being unable to fulfill her desire to go to Buenos Ares.
From a certain perspective, it can be stated that Buenos Ares symbolizes the freedoms that women enjoy in the present yet was something that women during the time of Joyce never truly fought for to obtain. They desired it with all their hearts to be nothing like their mothers yet in the end due to social convention they wind up right back where they started. This is why, for me, the paper of Dennison is far too straightforward in its examination of “Eveline”.
Dennison neglected to utilize the process of seeing past the “literal” actions of the characters to see the message that the author was trying to show. Another way of looking at the paper is by thinking that it represents the way in which people fear change and are slaves to their habits.
Throughout the short story it can be seen that Eveline was for all intents and purposes somewhat of a slave to her father. This was represented by her actions in shopping, taking care of him and being forced to ask him for some money for daily expenses. Despite the potential danger that existed Eveline still chose to stay behind in her home town and be with her father. This was not out of love but rather a fear of change which is evidenced by the sheer amount of references within the story regarding attachments and daily habits.