James Joyce’s “Eveline” it is a realistic story, we can say that it’s a synthesis between some of the characterizes of the realistic, naturalistic and modernist movement.Firstly, the realism is a literary movement that started in the mid-nineteenth century, characterized by the straightforward language, the numerous details, and the accurate descriptions of the backgrounds and characters, principally of middle and lower classes.
Secondly, the naturalism is a movement which believed in an observant and scientific method of portraying the reality, sought to go a step beyond than the realism. This movement is centered in the somber themes like the violence, corruption, and poverty.It believed also in a force beyond human control such as the social conditions and the environment, which could shape the human life.
Finally, the modernism movement which began around the 19th century and early 20th century had a need to break with the more traditional ways of writing and thinking, this is partly because of the great influence of the WWI and its horrors. This movement is characterized mostly by the use of the stream of consciousness, the irony, and an unreliable narrator.James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish novelist which was characterized by the use of realism, stream of consciousness and symbolism. He became one of the most influential and important writers of the twentieth century.
In 1922 he published his most eminent and controversial work Ulysses, which was a huge success when it came out and which made him instantaneously famous. In 1914 he published Dubliners, which is a compilation of 15 short stories, all of this stories are centered around the Irish lower and middle class, with Dublin as the setting. “Eveline” is one of the 15 stories and of which we are going to talk about.In this story, Eveline original from Dublin is unhappy and tired with the current situation of her life, in her house the relationship with her father it’s strained and overall not good.
Moreover because of this, and the need to walk away from her displeasure previous life, when her lover Frank offers her the opportunity to go with him to Buenos Ayres and begin a new and happy life, she is faced with the obligation of making a decision, whether to follow Frank to Buenos Ayres and marry him or stay in Dublin and continue taking care of her father and her sisters. Lastly, she is unable to make a choice and stays in the dock while the ship is leaves.The story has very precise detailed scenes, for example, in the very beginning there’s a man walking down the street, and the text described the realistic sound that his footsteps made. It also described very well how she remembers her childhood, her relationship with her father then, and her relationship with her father after the death of her mother.
Another remarkable characteristic is the way of expressing her thoughts and feelings in the text, through the story we can see various internalized monologues, which makes us think in the stream of consciousness technique.The time in “Eveline” is very subjective and is used in an interesting way, Joyce uses the time for the introduction of her memories, for example : “Her father was not so bad then” while she is remembering the past, we can assume that in the present she has a bad family life. Furthermore, we can say that the present time used in the story is very short?. Another essential point is the narrator, Eveline is a subjective narrator, we see her point of view through the story, never the whole perspective. Is Frank really who he said he is?, Does he really loves her? Does he really wants to save her and marry her?. We are never going to know the truth. This is essentially because Eveline it’s an unreliable narrator, her narration is not completely trustworthy.
Given this points, in conclusion, we can assume that “Eveline” it’s a realistic story with a synthesis of characteristics of the modernism and naturalism.It has very detailed scenes, a colloquial language and the realistic representation of a daily life from a normal character are all characteristics of the realism, we can also observe the stream of consciousness technique and the unreliable narrator which are proper of the modernism characteristics, and finally given the nature of the upbringing of Eveline and her social conditions, it’s a possibility that she was predestined to remain in Dublin regardless of her wants, which shows us the main point in of the naturalism.