Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Costly Decisions

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Costly Decisions

During many people’s life they find that there are decisions to be made that will, in result, change their lives. As time goes by people wonder, did they make the right choices? In James Joyce’s “Eveline” the main character is forced to make a decision that not only will affect her, but her family and the people she loves. While she knows that she loves Frank, she also recalls her promise to her mother of keeping the family together as long as she can. Eveline has more of a tough love with her father, and her brothers do as well, but they all love him no matter what. As Frank and her are on the way to happiness, she comes to the realization that she cannot leave her home, family, and friends. In fact, it is clear that Eveline makes a decision that is not the best for her happiness in the future.

As Eveline grows closer and closer to her departure with Frank, she starts to realize that this is the most important decision of her life and is skeptical of what to do. Ever since she was born, she has been familiar with the things around her, change in her life is something that is not used very often. The narrator says, “Home! She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years” (Joyce 55). It goes to show that some people are afraid of change and what it can actually do. Although Eveline was very loved in her family, especially when her mother was still alive, she has always had it rough. As the narrator goes to say, “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. It was hard work-a hard life-but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life” (Joyce 55). As Eveline’s trip seems closer and closer, she realizes that maybe she is not ready to leave the life that she knows and is so familiar with.

Eveline is faced with an important decision that she is unsure of what to do, much like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” the narrator speaks of a time when there is a decision that will affect the rest of his life, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Frost 1000). Just as Robert Frost came to a fork in the road, Eveline also comes to a deciding point. While Robert Frost decides to take the one less traveled, Eveline remains on the same road everybody else is on. Although Eveline knows that she likes Frank and he is a good guy, she is not sure of what decision is the best one. The narrator says, “She felt her cheek pale and cold and, out of a maze of distress, she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her duty” (Joyce 57). Furthermore, Eveline decides to take the road more traveled, and may regret it later in life.

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During my life I have been forced to make decisions, just as Eveline and the narrator in “The Road Not Taken” have. The choices I have made are what I wanted, there is no looking back wondering if I did the right thing or not. Deep down I know that if I follow my heart, everything will fall into place. Even though she knows what she wants in life, she is still a bit wary. As the trip was fast approaching, she knew that she should have left with Frank. Although she is very interested in Buenos Aires, she dreams about being married and wondering how it will be. The narrator says, “Then she would be married-she, Eveline. People would treat her with respect then” (Joyce 55). All of Eveline’s future with Frank is already planned out, all she has to do is get on the boat, and she does not, a mistake that she will think about for the rest of her life.

For Eveline, she has two choices, she can stay at home where she has been for her entire life, or she could leave and explore new things to lead a new and exciting life with Frank, her lover. The narrator goes to say, “First of all it had been an excitement for her to have a fellow and then she had begun to like him” (Joyce 56). She knows that if she leaves with Frank things will be very different, and that is what holds her back from leaving. The familiar people and things Eveline has always known is what she loves, and it would be scary for her to be around unfamiliar objects and not around any of her friends or family. While contemplating whether to go or not she realizes that she has been sheltered by her family, mostly her father, and needs to make a decision that would be best for her in the long run. The narrator says, “her father had found out the affair and had forbidden her to have anything to say to him” (Joyce 56). Not many people want to be under such strict authority. In Eveline’s case she feels that she cannot betray her father in such way. As a result, the boat leaves for Buenos Aires, Eveline knowing in her heart that she has made the wrong decision not to go with Frank.

While Eveline decides to stay home, it is obvious that the decision she made is not the best for her happiness in the future. She may go through life wandering what would have happened if she went to Buenos Aires with Frank, now she will never know. Although Eveline loves where she grew up, that is no reason to give up what could have been love and happiness. Eveline’s entire family wants what she could have had, which is living the American dream of happiness and love. If happiness were something that we know we are getting it before it comes then the world would be a better place, but nobody can really know if the decisions they make are going to make them happy in the long run. As life goes on, people change and decisions are made, but in the end nobody wants to look back on their life and realize that the decisions they made were, in fact, the wrong ones.

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