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Trapped by Guilt in James Joyce’s Eveline from Dubliners

Eveline: Trapped by Guilt

The story “Eveline,” by James Joyce is one of indescribable loyalty and extreme choices. Two themes dominate the story: everything good must end, and it is the victim of abuse that often feels guilt. The guilt that Eveline feels forces her to make choices that trap her into a pitiful existence.

The setting of “Eveline” is a typical Irish town. Eveline’s mother is dead and her father, though living, has a less than stellar character. He is abusive towards her two brothers and constantly threatens her. Another example of his character or lack thereof is his racist attitude. This is evident when he yells, “Damned Italians!” Then one day, Eveline meets Frank who lives in Buenos Aires. They fall in love and she must make a choice whether to go with him or stay and take care of her father. This is where the internal conflict takes place. The conflict is resolved when she chooses to stay with her father and family.

The main character of this story is Eveline. She begins as a flat character then slowly becomes round, but in the end, she returns to her stagnant characterization. From the very beginning, Eveline starts out as a helpless guilt-driven person, and she does not change by the conclusion of the story. Frank is another character in “Eveline.” He is also a flat character. He truly loves Eveline, and even in the end when she does not go with him, he still calls out to her.

“Eveline” contains many themes but the central one prevalent throughout is the choices and consequences of life. Everyday, people make decisions, which have an affect on their lives no matter how minute. Eveline must make the decision whether to stay and care for her father and f…

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…one wishes for “do-overs” but once a choice is made, there is rarely ever a second chance.

The story of Eveline is a very common occurrence in society today. The themes contained in “Eveline” are also very prevalent in the every day lives of people. Many people are abused each day and yet it is still the victim that feels guilty. That is how Eveline feels, and that is what drives her to stay. The same parallel is evident in abused wives. Though they are battered and mistreated, they have the compulsion to stay as opposed to leave. Another theme in the story is that everything good ends. “Eveline,” in short is an insightful comparative into the common happenings of peoples’ every day lives and the momentous choices that affect each life.

Works Cited:

Joyce, James. “Eveline.” Exploring Literature. 2nd ed. Ed. Frank Madden. New York: Longman, 2004.

Psychological and Formal Analysis of Young Goodman Brown

Psychological and Formal Analysis of Young Goodman Brown

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne provides the reader with a unique insight into the lives of people in an early Puritan community. By the use of psychological and formal analysis, we capture a deeper sense of the story of a young man’s struggle between his undeniable desires and his morality.

Freud speculated that the repression of our sub consciousness and that, which we are unaware of, is manifested into the id, ego, and superego. These three super powers in our brain are responsible for the influence life has on us. Surfacing through our personal choices, and consequently our reaction to life, they form who re really are. We will discuss the interpretation of these three powers in Brown through the psychological approach to literary analysis.

Formalistically, Hawthorne writes a wonderful story full of description, imagery, and symbolism. When Hawthorne writes, “Faith, as she was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons”, we envision a wholesome, loving wife. The liturgy used by the author invokes emotion from the reader to empathize with her deep commitment to her husband and the passionate plea she makes to her husband to remain home and not make this journey. The expressive detail used to describe the gathered congregation and the stone alter provide a vivid and concrete setting in the reader’s mind and provides a perfect example of paratactic literature. On the other hand, the description of the four blazing pines (HCAL pg.383) subtly leads the reader to envision the biblical burning bush with definite symbolism.

It is through this detailed narrative that we are …

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…ugh he returns home to where it seems nothing has changed, he has. Brown is not able to live the happy life he once had after his experience. There is now an overwhelming sense of doubt. His perfect world has been brought down around him as he realizes that all that he thought was moral and right was merely an allusion.

It is this conflict that destroys Brown. He is tormented by this apparent revelation for the rest of his life. “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream.” Brown lost all faith in himself, every person, and everything around him. For Brown, the superego he used as a balance to his id was destroyed that night. With no superego, the ego is lost and has no job to perform. Goodman Brown spent the rest of his life unhappy and scornful.

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