Eveline is depicted as being overwhelmed by changes that over the years have happened in her family and neighborhood. The story begins with her nolstagicly recalling the good days when life was good with their family happy and united and too-when neighboring children would play together in the field in front of their hose.
James Joyce the author has successfully captured this disillusionment and uncertainty of life by effectively applying symbolism. As such, the usage of the different symbols has in depth captured the experiences of the character. Such symbols as have been used by the author include, objects, activities people and animals.
James Joyce begins the story by depicting Eveline at the window watching the evening invading the avenue, and also her leaning against the window inhaling the odor of dust cretonne. In this story, such depiction of Eveline by the author shows the turmoil in Eveline’s mind. Eveline views every thing as invading with an aim of disrupting the usual order of things. This then, depicts the uncertain nature of life. The smell of odor of dusty cretonne is another symbolism that the author has used to bring out the conflict between the changing lifestyle and the desire of the character to retain things as they usually was.
To Eveline, the uncertainty of life are seen through her impression of such people as the man who comes and buys their playing ground. The author has used this man symbolically. This man is viewed by Eveline as a thief of their happiness by taking up their playing ground. Here the field is used symbolically to represent the center of happiness where the children meet for play.
The contrast between the houses built by the man from Belfast and those lived by Eveline’s family further concretizes the uncertainty of life faced by Eveline and her family. They had been living in that neighborhood for long, but never built better houses. The man’s house is depicted as being much better than theirs. This symbolism of the houses further helps the author in devoloping the theme of the story-the uncertainty of life.
The uncertainty of life is further symbolized by the mention of the yellowing photograph that hung on the wall above the broken harmonium. This is photograph of a school friend of Eveline’s father. Eveline’s father while showing the photograph dismisses it with just a casual word, “he now lives in Melbourne”. This casual utterance speaks volumes of disillusionment .because of the uncertain times; old friends have been separated by distances and time with no hope of seeing each other soon.
Eveline’s boyfriend frank has been used as symbolic representation of hope and good life in the future. Eveline has decided to elope with him to Buenos Aires .to her; frank is her beacon of hope and happiness into the future. Though she has lived to be accustomed to her home, she has decided to leave behind all what has characterized her life behind including her house and store so as to seek this new hope in future with frank.
During her mother’s death, Eveline recalls hearing the Italian playing the organ. Even today as she plans to elope, she hears the same organ again. The organ playing has been used symbolically to represent dagger about to happen. As such this symbolism aims at showing that her urge to escape her home in search of a better life may lead to further risks.
Finally the author in an effort to concretize the theme of the story-that is disillusionment and uncertainty of life due to the effects of the changing times, has used boat to symbolize the anticipated freedom and hope in the new life in Buenos Aires.
In conclusion therefore, James Joyce as effectively used symbolism to effectively capture the emotions and experience of the story. Through the usage of symbolism the author has also captured in details the behaviors of the characters of the story.