“The Dubliners” James Joyce collection of short stories deals in the paralysis of the people of Dublin, Ireland. Joyce felt that the city suffered from a type of paralysis where the entire city was unable to look forward from the past. This paper will explore how Joyce used his characters in the short stories, “Eveline” and “The Dead” to illustrate the physical and emotional paralysis he felt the citizens of Dublin acquired over the years.
The story of “Eveline” begins with the main character, Eveline sitting in front of the window at her home, staring out of her window, “Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne” (Joyce 29). Eveline seems to be posed as if she is a mannequin or physically paralyzed herself. Her breathing of the cretonne is the only indication she is alive and may not be physically paralyzed. She is gazing at the people outside her window; she does not seem to react to the activity happening in font of her. Instead, she lets her thoughts of the past overtake her as if she has no control over her own mind, further emphasizing her paralyzed state.
“Eveline” gives the reader a glimpse at the life of a young woman growing up in 19th century Dublin:
Of course she had to work hard, both in the house and at the business…Then she had to rush out as quickly as she could and do her marketing, holding her black leather purse tightly in her hand as she elbowed her way through the crowds…She had to work to keep the house together(Joyce 30).
By illustrating daily life, Joyce gives a realistic description of what is restricting Eveline from pursuing her need to escape. Eveline is about nineteen years old, and a shop worker. The only means she has of escape is marriage as she has little in the way of providing for herself. She seems stuck in her station in life.
At the story’s conclusion Eveline is on the verge of running away, but there are signs that she is held back, such as her use of the...