A GENETTIAN ANALYSIS OF THE UNFAMILIAR IN JAMES JOYCE’S “EVELINE”
Keywords:Narrative Discourse Theory, Flow of Consciousness, Unfamiliar, Familiar, Helplessness
This paper scrutinizes the conflict between the familiar and the unfamiliar in James Joyce’s “Eveline” (1914), centering on the protagonist’s dilemma which is deepened by a profound sense of helplessness. On the one hand, Eveline desires to stay with the familiar, namely, the home and the family in which she grew, due to the obscurity of the future and marriage. On the other hand, she cannot help but see marriage as a way to escape from her tiresome life and to be saved by the unfamiliar. This complicated the decision-making process, where she perpetually compares the past and the present time and renders the future within the limitations of her perception, reminds the stream of consciousness technique, which is frequently associated with the early 20th century modernist writings. It seems that James Joyce, as a modernist writer, sowed the seeds of the stream of consciousness technique in “Eveline” through the protagonist’s flow of consciousness before he properly used it in his later novels. This can be deduced not only from the implementation of similar narrative tools but also from the inclusion of thematic concerns such as “psychic self-dissection” and “escape” (Bradbury and McFarlane 197). Accordingly, this study analyzes Eveline’s temporal-causal flow of consciousness within the framework of literary theorist Gérard Genette’s narrative order, distance and perspective concepts in order to demonstrate how the text problematizes the unfamiliar, and ultimately, it aims to unearth the forces that motivate Eveline to remain within the boundaries of the familiar.
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