In Eveline, Joyce uses poetic imagery to represent emotion. “She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired” (2222). The way this passage opens allows the reader to become Eveline. I can imagine myself sitting by the window and observing life pass me by. I am tired and all I can do is watch as life passes me by. Eveline is reminiscing and remembering parts of her life. She is struggling with the decision to stay with her abusive father or to run away and meet with Frank. Will life be any different if she stays or if she goes? Or no matter her decision will she continue to watch through the window? Joyce uses the imagery in this poem to create more meaning than simple words. There is so much emotion in this poem and a struggle to find out who she (Eveline) is and who she wants to be.
Joyce comes back to the window and Eveline’s struggle with, “Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window, leaning her head against the window curtain, inhaling the odour of dusty cretonne. Down far in the avenue she could hear a street organ playing. She knew the air. 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” (2224). The poetic flow of these lines are sad and hold so much meaning. Should I stay or should I go? Does it matter anymore? The struggle and the pain is there. If Eveline leaves will the pain go away or will it only follow her because she will be breaking a promise to her mother? Does it even matter because her mother is not there to see her fail? She is failing either way. Neither decision will be better than the other. Neither decision can make her truly happy and because of that life will always pass her by.