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Empty Spaces in James Joyce’s Eveline from Dubliners

Eveline’s Empty Spaces

It seems highly appropriate that James Joyce lived in Europe during the time of Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin, and Matisse; throughout his book Dubliners he sketches his characters in a style that could be characterized as post- impressionist. Rather than smoothly, cleanly outlining and clearly delineating his characters’ every feature, Joyce concentrates on hinting at the emotional meanings of his depictions with a rich thick dab of paint here and there. Although Joyce flexes his descriptive muscles in the Dubliners short story “Eveline” (1914,) he leaves much to the imagination of the reader through calculated omissions and suggestive phrases.

Such omissions begin at the opening of the story; “She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue” (Joyce 37). Joyce sets the scene with economy, simply letting the reader know that it is the onset of evening, a time of day everyone can reach into their own memories and refer to. Naturally it is getting darker, and this combined with the fact that Eveline is seated and watching suggests repose, so one might assume further that she is at home. The only bit left to ponder is the use of the word “invade.” This usage really illustrates Joyce’s technique in this story; it implies that this onset of night may be unwanted, an idea that is reinforced by later events. All this information has been laid out in a single sentence. Another such instance appears soon after this sentence: And yet during all those years she had never found out the name of the priest whose yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium beside the coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque (38).

Naturally, such a long…

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…cates feelings without having to actually spell them out, surgically adding or removing pieces in a strategy designed to create a certain kind of feel in the story, much like the artist’s use of the space surrounding an object in making that object visible. Through her recollections and musings just outside of the first person, Joyce constructs an open Eveline who could become many different characters, and a story malleable to varying time periods which could take on different tones, depending upon who the reader happens to be.

Works cited / consulted:

Joyce, James. “Eveline,” from Dubliners. New York: Everyman’s Library, Alfred A Knopf, 1991.

Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000. “Joyce, James.” Microsoft Corporation, 1997- 2000.

Oxford English Dictionary Online

Julius Caesar Essay: Brutus as the Tragic Hero

Brutus as the Tragic Hero of Julius Caesar

Shakespeare’s tragedy, Julius Caesar, displays Brutus as a tragic hero, blinded loyalty and devotion. Brutus’s heroic belief of honor and virtue was so powerful that it drove him to perform villainous actions and lead to his destruction.

The tragic hero is “presented as a person neither entirely good nor entirely evil, who is led by some tragic flaw to commit an act that results in suffering and utter defeat.” (Morner, Kathleen

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