Father daughter relationship in the eveline, Esej'z Historia Wielkiej Brytanii. Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach (UŚ)

Father daughter relationship in the eveline, Esej'z Historia Wielkiej Brytanii. Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach (UŚ)

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An essay on the relatonship between Eveline and her father in " Dubliners"
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Father – Daughter Relationship in the Eveline

Magdalena Chowaniec Fra-Ang I

In the Joyce's short-story "Eveline" the reader is aquainted with a female protagonist that has

quite a peculiar ralationship with her father. At first we may assume that the nature of the ralation is

simple. We suppose that the girl is being abused and neglected by her father. In the story we can

observe a popular trend in literature, which is an alcoholic father that is destroying the life of a

young woman, whom is Eveline. Yet the situation is more complex than it seems. It reveals its depth

in numerous ambivalent thoughts Eveline has on her family and childhood. Despite all the

malfunctions of the father-daughter relationship the dominant emotion between the protagonist and

her parent is love.

Eveline gives us a thorough interpretation of her family life. She finds it essential for making

the major decision, a decision that will define the rest of her life. She recalls the memories of her

childhood and of the times when her father "was not so bad". The first feeling she describes is fear.

She's afraid that he might get violent around her but at the same time she doesn't believe in him

being capable of doing it. He never treated her the way he treated her brothers because he was

aware of her being a girl. Nevertheless she knows he is broken because of her mother's death. His

actions are unpredictable. Moreover he ruins the family by taking all her money on Saturday nights.

Here it is clearly suggested that he uses her wages to drink himself into insensibility. Thereby he is

seemingly ignorant, irresponsible and most of all selfish. He indeed is the main source of all her

hardships and problems.

Yet at the same time he is somehow aware of how hard he is making her life. Giving her the

money to run the errands from time to time indicates that he cares for both of them to have

something to eat. He might be destructive but he seems to have a desire for lessening the demages

he causes. He shows the most care when he forbids Eveline to date Frank. He's genuinly worried

about his daughter. He doesn't want her to be hurt and as a man he knows best of what she's

edangered. He even had an argument with her lover, what means he feels the instinct of protecting

her. In the sentence: "I know these sailor chaps." he expresses more than we may suspect of him. He

reveals his willingness to protect his daughter from other men. He shows us the image of a

stereotypical protective father, an image that is well-known to every young woman.

Eveline mind comes back to the happy moments with her family. She remembers her father

being kind to them and making them laugh when her mother was alive. This is another proof that he

loves his children yet he's far too damaged by loosing his wife to show the affection to his offspring

properly. Eveline debates weather she wants to have this kind of life. Life that is marked by

constant fear and insecurity.

Eveline is not sure if she wants to escape from her father or if she wants to stay with him

knowing that she'll have to continue experiencing his moods and threats. Her family is a steady

feature of her life, something that she has known for ever. Her father is the one with whom she

would spend her life. We can be certain that she loves him despite of his alcoholism, rudeness and

violence. It's stronger than the fear of being hurt by him, because after all she is his daughter and it

makes her feel obliged to take care of him. This feeling of obligation is an essential factor that

helped her make the decision to not leave Ireland.

One of the reasons for the feeling of obligation in Eveline may be the fact that she was

raised by catholic religion. This religion is deeply rooted in the girl's conscience. Catholicism

teaches that parents need to be loved and respected regardless of their actions. Eveline is perfectly

aware of the importance of this commandment. She feels responsible for the wellbeing of her father.

She knows that later in her life she'll have to nurse him and help him. Her time will be split between

fighting for financial survival and taking care of her parent. Nevertheless she decides not to escape

from this kind of future. She embraces it and trusts what she knows instead of risking it all for the

vision of a happy life with a barely known man.

Eveline notices that her father has changed recently. She says that he would miss her. She

perceives his small gestures of kindness as "very nice". She wants to believe in him being good and

loving his children. It is common for people to look for goodness in their loved ones. She wants to

believe in the image of a caring father although he let's her see it quite rarely.

In conclusion love for a parent is much stronger than the desire to pursue a better life.

Eveline is grateful to her father and indeed loves him dearly so she's not eager to leave her home

even though she knows that life with him won't be easy or calm. She is aware of the difficulties

she'll encouter yet she decides to stay with him. She doesn't mind the fear and the struggle for

money because that's what she knows and she accepts to cope with it. Her father loves her strongly

and he doesn't want to loose her. He seems to subconsciencly feel that she has the idea of departure

in mind. He starts to miss her, as she noticed. Although he doesn't show it clearly he want to keep

her. He doesn't want her to leave or even grow up. He's displeased with her having a fellow because

it means that she's not a child anymore and that's she's ready to have her own family. The

relationship between them is not clearly defined with boundaries of parental love. It is also filled

with pain and hardships. Nevertheless despite all of the problems Eveline and her father have a deep

emotional realtionship. There is nothing extraordinary in that. They love each other as any other

family, they just don't show it so clearly.

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