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Family Versus Love in Eveline Essay


Family Obligation vs. Lover

Trapped in a world of choices, Eveline, the main character in the short story Eveline had to decide whether she should escape with Frank to Buenos Ayres in search of a new life, or uphold the promise of her deceased mother, of keeping the family together. Struggling with how a decision should be made, she was afraid that decision may lead her to a wrong direction. With this feeling, it was a real challenge for her to determine whether or not she should stay home to take care of her elderly father or she should elope with Frank. Unfortunately, a tough decision was made by Eveline to stay home with her family because she had an obligation to take care her family, she did not have a trust in Frank, and she did not have a strong determination to depart from her family.

In addition to the aforementioned reasons for her not to depart from her family, Eveline was raised up as a Catholic, a religion that involved in so many strict rules and laws. The righteousness was part of her belief system and was embedded in her daily life. Coupled with her family obligation and her belief system as a Catholic follower, she felt that it was her utmost responsibility to take care of her family and to keep her sacred promise to her deceased mother, which was to keep the home together as long as she could (Joyce).

Despite being only nineteen years of age, Eveline assumed a tremendous amount of responsibilities. She had to work hard to keep the house in order. In addition, she had to care for two young children and provided them with food and shelter. Moreover, Eveline also had to deal with her abused father and sometime she felt she was in danger of her fathers violence (Joyce). Despite of the abuses, she wanted to escape from her abused father so that she may have a happy and secure life; however, due to a sacred promise from her deceased mother, Eveline decided to stay to fulfill her mothers wish.

With frustrations at the present and the confusions with her thinking, Eveline thought about to explore a new life with Frank, a life-saver who may save her from the sea of misery and the lamp that may lighten up her miserable life. She thought that he was the only one that had the ability to help her to renew her hopeless life. During a short courtship, Frank felt in love with Eveline and proposed to build a new life with her. Frank assured to bring her the happiness once they arrived to Buenos Ayres where people would treat her with the respect (Joyce). With love shared, a proposal to build a new life, and an assurance of happiness, she initially felt to believe in Frank and that he would give her a new life, perhaps love, too (Joyce). The terms perhaps love too suggested that Eveline was not sure whether Frank was truly love her with all of his heart. Her uncertainties also led her to a high level of hallucination that someday Frank would drown her (Joyce). Her anxiety of being insecure about what the future may hold also contributed to her decision for not going with Frank.

Eveline knew that her life could be joyful if united with Frank; she just did not have the courage to get on that ship to leave with Frank. In addition to her family obligation and her religious belief, the lack of self-confidence and self-esteem also hindered her from leaving home. As a young person living in a tight knit family in all of these youthful years, she felt much more comfortable with the familiar objects from which she had never dreamed of being divided (Joyce).

As complicated as it was, choosing love over family was not an easy decision. As noted in the story, she was afraid of risking everything that was embedded in her life. That was a reason why she decided to stay home. Furthermore, she was unable to commit herself to settle down with Frank. Sadly to say that Eveline had a chance to have a wonderful life with her lover, Frank; however, the end result indicated that she chose her family over her lover as an indication of a bittersweet ordeal between love and family obligation.

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