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Psychological Analysis of James Joyce's "Eveline"

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Mackenzie McGraw

on 2 October 2015

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Transcript of Psychological Analysis of James Joyce's "Eveline"

Psychological Analysis of James Joyce's "Eveline"
James Joyce
Was "born, raised, and educated in Dublin Ireland" (Pickering, 1394)
The older he got the more distanced he felt from Ireland
Was not popular in his time: he was ignored and much of his work was misunderstood
Paved the way for modern fiction
James and his wife Nora went into "self-imposed exile" and moved to Switzerland.
He was haunted by Dublin
Motifs in Eveline
Freudian Psychology
Freud developed the idea of the "unconscious," as well as the mechanisms of "fixation," "displacement," and "condensation."
Now that we understand how to approach psychological analysis, what does the background of James Joyce say about this chapter of Dubliners?
Works Cited
"Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism. The Writing Lab, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

Pickering, James H. "Biographical Notes." Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Fiction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. 1394-395. Print.

"Electra Complex and Freud." Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/electra-complex-and-freud-definition-story-examples.html#lesson>.

Jago, Carol. Literature & Composition: Reading, Writing, Thinking. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. Print.

"James Joyce Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. http://www.biography.com/people/james-joyce-9358676

DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay. Boston. McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Why is Eveline confused about leaving her home for Buenos Ayres with Frank?
"In her home anyway she had shelter and food; she had those whom she had known all her life about her." (primitive needs)
"What would they say of her in the Stores?"
Dubliners
Why does her father object to her marrying Frank? Is the father justified in thinking of Frank as he does? Explain.
""My Intention [in Dubliners]," Joyce told his publisher, "was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country, and I chose Dublin for the scene because the city seemed to me to be the centre of paralysis" (Pickering, 1394)

"Eveline" is the chapter 4, but it is the last chapter depicting adolescence, so this chapter marks a shift between childhood and adulthood.

Eveline is the first chapter in the book written from a female perspective, as well as the first written in third person stream of consciousness.

Eveline is the first adult character in the stories, marking an expansion in the scope of the paralysis that gripped Dublin.
"...she did not find it [life in her old home] wholly undesirable..."
Epiphany
"She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape!"

a sudden revelation, or "showing forth," of the essential truth about a character, situation, or experience
"I know these sailor chaps."
The father's view of Frank is based on assumptions and prejudice
Paralysis
"No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish."
Psychological Perspectives
Psychological
criticism approaches a work of literature as the revelation of its author's mind and personality.
Abusive, possessive of his daughter
Buenos Ayres
Jungian Archetypes:
Anima - the feminine side of the male Self
Sensitivity in this case
Works are viewed as being very closely linked with their author's mental and emotional state of mind
Superego
Id
How does the memory of her mother affect Eveline's view of herself, her father, and her life in Dublin?
Why is Eveline unable to make a decision at the end? Why does she not respond to Frank's words at the end?
"storehouse of desires, primarily libidinal or sexual, but also possessive or aggressive"
Super-Ego
"representative of societal and parental standards of ethics and morality"
Ego
"Negotiator between the desires of the id and the controlling and constraining force of the superego"

This is influenced by our relationships with others

Eveline's Ego: This is the actual paralysis in action. Her physical paralysis is her ego reacting to being torn between leaving and staying.
The superego present in Eveline is her promise to her mother and her bonds to her father, despite his abuse. She feels bound to empty promises.
Eveline's id is her desire to leave with Frank to Buenos Ayres. He is a sailor (a negative influence) and a life in the unknown represents adventure and thrill.
Along with the idea of distinct conscious and unconscious, Freud developed the idea of the three main mental functions, known as the superego, id, and the ego.
Alienation
Isolation
Exile
How would you explain Eveline's major problems in dealing with others? With herself? With her present life?
Connections Between Authors and Their Work
Total Understanding of Characters Leads to a More Thorough Understanding of the Author
Linguistic Elements Reveal Psychological Motivations of Authors and Characters
The Psychoanalytic Approach in Action
Two options: analyze the psychology associated with an author's creative process in their literary works, or study works along with an author's diaries, letters, and other personal affects.
The Oedipus Complex can affect authors and the way they write while describing parent-child relationships. Freud believed that this idea was present in all literary works.
An author's mental functions are revealed in the mental functions of the characters they write about and vice versa.
Joyce himself returned to Dublin after he "escaped the paralysis" by attempting to become a doctor in Paris to be with his ill mother. This shows the significance between children and parents. This relationship between a child and their dying parent is shown in Eveline's promise to her mother.
Characters are often a direct (or rather, indirect) reflection of an author's subconscious.

In the case of "Eveline," as well as the rest of Dubliners, the characters are representative of the problems that Joyce sees in Dublin


The people are caricatures of the real people who lived in Ireland who were self-perpetuating the paralysis of the city, even though they didn't know it.
Electra complex
This kind of analysis works best with stream of consciousness narratives or works of fiction, whether it be first or third person, as this point of view offers an intimate look into the character's mind
Stream of Consciousness
"Stream of consciousness is a narrative technique characteristic of such twentieth-century writers as William Faulkner, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf" (Literature and Composition)
It is a form of point of view that offers a look into a character's mind, revealing their thoughts, emotions, and impressions of the events occurring around them.
Freud believed that the inability to resolve an Oedipal complex made women inherently weaker and more likely to have a mental disorder, so the Electra complex is a Neo-Freudian concept
Female version of the Oedipus complex:
Girl sees mother as competition for her father's affections
Imagery in Eveline
"Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window...inhaling the odour of cretonne."
"She caught a glimpse of the black mass of the boat, lying in beside the quay wall, with illuminated portholes."
If no resolution of the developmental stage occurs (the stage in which a girl recognizes the difference between men and women), the girl develops an Electra complex, which means that she seeks a father figure in future relationships
Eveline knows that her window of time to leave is shortening and she has only a little while left in Dublin before the night falls and she sneaks away. Yet she stays at the window, with her face buried in the curtains. This is the author's way of depicting her hiding from her fears.
Eveline saw the ship as a "black mass" or something ominous and foreboding in her future. The ship in the dark represents the unknown and Eveline's fear of the choice she has made.
Archetypes
End of an era (adolescence)
"...watching evening invade the avenue"
Childhood is the era that is coming to a close (this is a bildungsroman)
"children of the avenue used to play together in the field"
Eveline's epiphany is brought on by seeing a repetition of her father's aggressive behavior ("Damned Italians! coming over here!"). In that moment, her id (her desire to escape) won over her ego and superego (rational and a promise to stay), and she saw Frank as a vehicle of escape, which is why she agreed to run away with him and marry him.
Eveline physically experienced the "paralysis," or being frozen in the same place and situation, that gripped the people in Ireland. At that time, the economy in Ireland was down the tubes. They were struggling with the Potato famine and a turbulent government. People stayed in place because they felt powerless and didn't know what else they could do.
"She sat at the window...she was tired."
Eveline is not depicted as having many friends. It is noted that she won't cry to leave her job, and because of her father's violence, she felt threatened no matter what she did. Abuse is one of the easiest ways to feel alienated.
Dubliners is written in chapters that divide the characters as individuals. They are all facing the same problems but they are separate to each other and each other's struggles.
"He rushed beyond the barrier...he was shouted at to go on but still he called to her. She set her face to him, passive, like a helpless animal."
Eveline, like other characters in Dublin and many of the people of Ireland at the time, has sentenced herself to exile by staying. Even though they are at home, by staying they are cut off from an opportunity to improve their quality of living.
"...but latterly he had begun to threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead mother's sake. And now she had nobody to protect her. Ernest was dead and Harry...was nearly always down somewhere in the country."
Eveline was alone in her misery, with no one to protect her from her father's abuses. Like so many others, there were people all around but they were all separated and apart; individuals who were focused inwardly on their suffering.
It is fitting that the Electra complex is exhibited during the adolescence of the book
"She would not be treated as her mother had been."
"...she sometimes felt herself in danger of her father's violence."
"And now she had nobody to protect her."
Isolation
Self-restraint: because her father has inhibited her from living her life independently, she has started to restrain herself (paralysis)
The father's strong id reflects his aggressive and possessive behaviors. The id embodies a lot of antisocial qualities and instinctual behavior.
Id:
Manipulative behavior:
"He said she used to squander the money, that she had no head, that he wasn't going to give her his hard-earned money to throw about the streets, and much more, for he was usually fairly bad on Saturday night. In the end he would give her the money and ask her had she any intention of buying Sunday's dinner. Then she had to rush out as quickly as she could and do her marketing, holding her black leather purse tightly in her hand as she elbowed her way through the crowds and returning home late under her load of provisions."
Stream of consciousness shows that her superego often gets in the way of her id, her internal unconscious desires
When Eveline recalls her mother, she is motivated to escape Dublin and begin her new life with Frank
Accustomed to passivity
Paralysis
Syntax: single word exclamations
"Home!" "Escape!" "Come!" "No!"
Emphasizes her mixed feelings; bursts of revelations in her uncertain mind
"Strange that it should come that very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could."
"As she mused the pitiful vision of her mother's life laid its spell on the very quick of her being -- that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness."
So many conflicting ideas juxtaposed
"She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal."
She was unable to find a solution to the situation because of the mixed feelings within
Struggles to hear her own desires, and is very sensitive to those of others
Internalizes the wishes of others
Conflict arises from making a decision with two contradictory views
Cuts herself off from others; keeps things bottled up
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