Reading Mindfully: James Joyce’s “Eveline”
March 3, 2017 | Capria Jaussen, Maredith Sheridan
Each month, we offer you a chance to read mindfully, to use literature to think about your perceptions and reactions to the world in which we live and work. Through these short texts and accompanying questions, we hope to give you a small taste of Books@Work. Please grab a friend or colleague to read, share and discuss – and send us your thoughts.
James Joyce is one of the most celebrated and influential writers of the 20th century. Born in 1882 in Dublin, his novels are known for their stream-of-consciousness prose and experimental style. His early short story volume Dubliners is a more straightforward read. Published in 1914, the powerful collection depicts Irish middle-class life through the eyes of Dublin’s residents, including young Eveline Hill. The loss and devastation of the Irish famine loom large throughout the collection.
As you read “Eveline,” consider these questions:
- How does our definition of home evolve throughout our lives?
- What spurs us to be willing to move outside our comfort zones?
- Do you think Eveline made the right choice?
by James Joyce
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 odor of dusty cretonne. She was tired.
Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his way home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the new red houses. One time there used to be a field there in which they used to play every evening with other people’s children. Then a man from Belfast bought the field and built houses in it — not like their little brown houses but bright brick houses with shining roofs.
Image: Claude Monet, Ships in Harbor, 1873, [Public Domain] via Wikiart.org