Does happiness relate to freedom? Does everything happen for a reason? “Eveline”, written by James Joyce, is a really good example of how life presents itself as an adventure with obstacles and sacrifices we are supposed to be willing to go through. Most of the times, our process of decision making goes against what we really want and what really makes us happy, but that is also part of life which is basically like an experiment, the more experiments we make, the more we discover and the better we feel about ourselves.
James Joyce wrote this short story back in 1914. This was a time where women were considered less that the worth of men, women were considered housekeepers, the ones staying at home, cooking and cleaning and in charge of the kids. Joyce writes, “She had hard work to keep the house together and to see that the two young children who had been left to her charge went to school regularly and got their meals regularly” (Joyce 618). Another proof of this matter is the relationship Eveline had with her father.
Joyce expresses that Eveline’s dad used to go for her two brothers, and not her because she was a girl; but unfortunately, after her mother’s death, he became violent and disrespectful towards her because of the same reason: she was a girl (617). This situation causes me to put myself in her shoes, making me feel angry but at the same time unable or incapable of doing something about it because of the respect that I have towards adults, especially my own father.
Due to her situation and the fact that she made a promise to her mother to keep the family together, she has a hard time making decisions. She demonstrates she is not selfish, but at the same time a little weak towards adventuring and making experiments with her life. It is also visible that she was educated with morals and respect, demonstrated with the heavy weight that her promise cause her to carry; bringing on board the difficulty of making decisions. The process of decision making sometimes goes against what we really want and what really makes us happy.
The need to do certain things shows itself as more important than what we really want, and this is exactly what happened to Eveline. She had the pressure of knowing she needed to keep the promise to her mom over the big possibility of getting out of that life, expecting to start a new one in a new place. Joyce says, “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” (619). This is the main cause of her confusion and problems at making decisions, especially putting other people on top of her.
Life comes with some situations where we have to accept that we do not come first, instead, our own parents, children, family or friends in general. However, we can not think this way all the time because it will cause major changes on our perspective towards life. We were born with a mission to accomplish, we might not now exactly which mission is, but what we do know is that we have to try to enjoy every second, without causing harm to others. The relationship between Eveline and me is that I see myself through a window.
I see what would of happened if I made different decisions in the past. I see myself as a different person, with a different path, but eventually I wake up of my daydream and my eyes see the reality. I don’t regret the life I have now, I have a husband and two little girls who I love with all my heart and soul, but the fact of thinking about the life I could of had if I kept playing basketball and took advantage of the scholarship I earned, without counting my knee injury, makes me wonder how everything would be like.
Consequently, the only phrase that gets in my mind every time when I think about that moment is: Everything happens for a reason, we just need to look at the bright side of every situation and enjoy it as much as we can. Life is a road with curves and bumps. We begin somewhere, we have the opportunity of going left, right, or keep going straight, having to figure out how to overcome the bumps that come in our way, and then we end the road, looking back to our past, hopefully without regretting the decisions we made and enjoying the experiences we lived.
When we have the opportunity of going left or right, we take the risk of going the wrong way, but since there is not way back, what we have to do is look at the bright side and take advantage of it, knowing that everything happens for a reason, which we might not know at the exact moment, but we will in the future.
Joyce, James. “Eveline. ” Portable Legacies: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Nonfiction. Ed. Jan Zlotnik Schmidt and Lynne Crockett. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. 616-620. Print.