Stuck in a world of work, hardship, and disability, James Joyce's character Eveline, in the story by the same name, is forced to make a decision. She has to choose between an escape which could be love and a promise to her family. Setting, character, and symbolism have direct impacts upon Eveline's life and her choices that she must make within it.
The setting of "Eveline" is a major contributor to the story. Eveline lives in a dull "brown house" (177) with an "odor of dusty cretonne" (177) along the curtains. There's no wonder why she would sit at the window and look out into the field where they used to play, where they are now building "bright brick houses with shining roofs" (177). As Eveline gazes out, her mind goes to a place where she is no longer barred by her family. She then goes and looks upon a boat, the boat that will save her and take her away from this life and into a new one.
The characters in this story are also very important. Eveline's father is a hateful drunk. He is overbearing and pushing her away by the way he acts. Although at times he can show that he cares, it is never quite enough to keep poor Eveline's heart at home. When Eveline met Frank "he was a very kind, manly, [and] open-hearted" (178). He was always full of music which was an incentive for Eveline to be with him. Eveline viewed Frank as an escape to get away from her unhappy life. Since Eveline has always been over-powered and manipulated by her father, she knows nothing of the world, and she sees this as her way out.
As music is very powerful in today's world, it was...