In Eveline, James Joyce depicts the story of a confused and meek teenager, wavering between her duty to keep the promise she made to her dying mother and finding a life and happiness of her own. In the opening paragraph, Eveline is sitting by the window. "Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne" (3). The window is very symbolic of what has been, what is, and what will become the essence of her life. It represents Eveline has fond memories of growing up, and the friends that have moved away and she too also longs to move away and create a life for herself. Caught in a wisp of nostalgia, Eveline is desperately trying to muster the strength and courage to leave her dismal existence of a life. She even goes as far as to write good-bye letters to her father and brother, but eventually she opt for the familiarity and comfortability of the life she has always known and has become acclimated to.
Eveline is a story of struggle to remain loyal to family and the inability to become loyal to one's own needs and desires.
After her mother's death, Eveline was forced to grow up faster then normal. Eveline's mother has played an influential role in her development within the family structure. Because of a promise she made to her mother, she is faced with a difficult decision; should she stay at home or should she run off and try finding some semblance of happiness for herself. On her death bed, Eveline's mother made her promise to "Keep the home together as long as she could" (6). This seems like and unfair request especially considering the way she was treated by her husband herself,