No Emotional Fulfillment in Eveline of James Joyce's Dubliners

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No Emotional Fulfillment in Eveline

"Eveline" is a story of young love. Eveline has already been courted and won by frank, who is taking her to marry him and "to live with him in Buenos Ayres" (Hacker 329). Or has she? When she meets him at the station and they are set to boars the ship, Eveline suddenly decides she cannot go with Frank because "he would drown her" in "all the seas of the world" (Hacker 329). Eveline's rejection of Frank is not just a rejection of love, but also a rejection of a new life abroad and escape from her hard life at home. And water, as the practical method of escape, as well as a symbol of both rejuvenation and emotional vitality, functions in a multi-faceted way to show all that Eveline loses through
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When she fails to go with Frank, Eveline indeed succumbs to the prospect of an imprisoning life like her mother's.

Water also signifies rejuvenation, the possibilities of a new life. In contrast to her present life full of "hard work-a hard life," Eveline looks forward to exploring "another life with Frank" as well as a new self across the seas (Hacker 330). Compared to re-living her dead mother's life, Eveline has a chance to live her own life and begin something with Frank that is brand new, open-ended, and unstamped by the impressions of the past. Though she can hardly imagine what her new life might be like, Eveline knows it will be unlike the one mapped out for her by her father. But perhaps it is the very uncertainty about her life with Frank that finally terrifies her. Known duty and hardship is finally preferable to unknown possibility, and as Frank draws her into the "seas of the world," she feels at last that "it was impossible" (Hacker 329&330). One cannot begin a new life unless one leaves behind the old, and "the seas" of rebirth are too much for her. Unable to make that leap of faith, she remains blind, "passive, like a helpless animal" (Hacker 331).

Eveline also rejects love and emotional vitality as represented by "the seas of the world" (Hacker 329). When she contemplates leaving with Frank, Eveline thinks of home as providing "shelter and food"
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