52 thoughts on ““Eveline” by James Joyce (from Dubliners): A Commentary / An Analysis of “Eveline” by James Joyce / DUBLINERS, “Eveline” by James Joyce

  1. I like the idea of not identifying the antagonist in the first paragraph of a story. I have tried this in my own work. I want the reader to wonder, who is this person? All will be revealed. I was criticised by my editor for this.

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  6. Sir, you’ve made my day. I need to watch your movies! All I do is get drunk on Bud and empty my soul onto the web for the whole world to see. I am earnestly so glad to finally know an American. And yes, I’m a tremendous Joyce fan. Ulysses is the best book I ever read in my whole life. It’s a “goddamn wonderful book.” Take good care, my friend. We need to stick together. Peace.

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        • I’m a longtime fan of Joyce–particularly Dubliners– and though “Araby” is my favorite story, I like Eveline too. I enjoyed your minute, sentence by sentence analysis of it, and can’t remember reading anything exactly like it. I think writers of fiction like myself are generally not given to analyzing content so closely, but form a general notion of what the story is about and often focus more on understanding the style the story was written in. But i liked your post very much and wanted to be sure to let you know.. .

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  9. Ahh, nothing better than to begin a tale uncertain just who is sitting at the window…just where the cinder path leads… from where did they find that many cinders? and Frank? not my Frank, but he sounds so similar…she will regret his leaving, though likely not for years to come…
    All this you’ve described convinces me once again that books beat movies in every instance…
    I need to reread my own sentences to see how each word leads to the next thought.

  10. I would love to hear your input on Rebecca by du Mauier…have you written something on it? I mean, Mandalay with its lush, eery tendrils sets you up for terror without one person present…

    • I will study this text. I have read excerpts from the novel, and it reads as if it were a beautiful prose poem. The writing is infinitely superior to that of WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys. Both WIDE SARGASSO SEA and Du Maurier’s REBECCA are indebted to JANE EYRE, as you might know. I will read the Du Maurier. I always have admired Nicolas Roeg’s film DON’T LOOK NOW, which was based on a story by Du Maurier. And for years, I have wanted to read her short story “The Birds,” even though I find the Hitchcock film a little overwrought. All three of these Du Maurier texts are going on my reading list. Thank you.

        • Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS (1963) lacks subtlety, but I suppose it should be seen once. It is strangely garish. Hitchcock’s underrated penultimate film, FRENZY (1972), is far subtler, even though it was Hitchcock’s only R-rated film. I recommend FRENZY over THE BIRDS. Both are sanguinary, but FRENZY is smarter than THE BIRDS. As far as cinematic reinterpretations of JANE EYRE are concerned, the best is probably I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943), directed by Jacques Tourneur. I love that film so much. It is atmospheric in the way that Du Maurier’s texts appear to be.

          • Hi. I loathe Hitchcock for his idiotic film Psycho. Because of him, the myth of the violent mentally ill goes on. It’s only an unfortunate minority of us who get slammed. By and large, schizos are remarkably nonviolent. I just had to say something. I have schizophrenia, and am not an ax murderer. OK? Fuck Alfred Hitchcock for the myth he began, and which the goddamn media perpetuates. Any hearing ears? Please listen, because Hitchcock was full of shit. So was the screenwriter of Rain Man. There’s no such thing as an autistic savant. That just pisses me off. People need to be educated re: mental and emotional illness, so come to my blog: robgradens.blog. Thank you.

            • I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I’ve never thought of the character in Psycho as schizophrenic…more possessed…like the walls in Hill House… and Rain Man didn’t seem like a depiction of a real guy… just a silly story about an irresponsible kid (Cruise)… checkin’ out your blog, Man…

  11. Joyce portrays the character Eveline in a finesse of literary angst. It’s interesting to see how you have ex-posited the minute details of the novel including Joyce’ explicit use of words. Overall a commendable work. Anand Bose from Kerala

  12. “Eveline” is one of my favorite stories to read and to teach. The story is brief, but it is packed with meaning. I would use Kurt Vonnegut’s comment in that a short sentence can be powerful, especially in the context of the rest of the writing.

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  14. Good article. Joyce’s use of amid is correct. Amid is often used with plural nouns when the plural noun represents one type of thing (“amid growing concerns” probably being the best-known example of this.

  15. Brilliant insight into one of my favorites from “Dubliners.” As usual, Joyce’s commentary of Ireland as “priest ridden” is evident in this tale of a woman, who, like many of the Catholics in his stories, is fearful of change. Well done!

  16. I enjoyed this, but I would argue that in staying, Eveline in a way asserts herself, against her own longing, the seduction of her lover, the tug of the seas. I think she elevates her passivity to a tragic stance, one that may help her siblings avoid ruin, even though it ruins her life.

  17. Lovely commentary. Just two small observations. The father hunts the children in out of the fields: that’s a common way for an Irish person to say it, that’s all. The father is rounding up the kids to go back into the home from outside. And ‘amid the seas’ – ‘amid’ has, for me, a clear image of Eveline caught up and surrounded by the waters. ‘Among’ has a more clunking sound and different imagery. I can imagine Joyce juggling the two and choosing ‘amid’ deliberately, a poetic choice, but we each read it in our own way. More about Joyce please 🙂 Rosie

  18. Hi Dr Joseph. Writing is so often a history of the time many reflect personal accounts some are so brilliant at portraying the images in words like an artist creating visual images on a canvas. For myself I try to express what I see and feel in a simple way. Best Wishes.#TheFoureyedPoet.

  19. Dr. Joseph Suglia,
    I like the way you conecet the events togother, and you made thinking analyse the story in a diffrent perspective.

  20. It’s nice to meet another translator of nineteenth-century writers.

    Great analysis of “Eveline”. I enjoyed your close reading of the text very much. But with regards to the putative error of ‘amid’ vs. ‘among’, allow me to quote the great Joyce himself, who tells us in “Ulysses”: ‘A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.’ We must therefore regard the great man’s ‘error’ as a deliberate choice.

    Thanks again for visiting me, and wishing you all the best.

    • You are probably correct, sir. I have noticed other seeming “errors” in Joyce–for instance, in his misrenderings of German texts. But even these errors seem productive of meaning. Perhaps they are, as you propose, intentional errata.

  21. I think the operative principle with Joyce—which leads ultimately to the thoroughgoing ‘misrendering’ of language(s) in “Finnegans Wake”—is that if he does something grammatically which appears to us to be an instance of mauvais usage, there’s usually an intention behind it to ‘broaden the portals’, if you like: to make language reveal an original image or insight behind those banal, everyday obstructions and blockages you note, one which is itself epiphanic and consubstantial with the epiphany of life.