Travel in 19th Dublin

U.S. Immigration Timeline - HISTORY


          If I summarize the context of Eveline, a piece of James Joyce, in one sentence, it would be “An Irish who refuses to go on her trip.” I do not deny that this may not contain some conflicts and details that are noticeably dealt in Eveline, however, I believe that ‘trip’ is pretty much the most important theme in this story. When Eveline reminds her good day, she mentions the trip that she went with her mother to Hill of Howth(it is nearby North Wall, where Eveline and Frank were going to catch a ship), which was regarded as a popular picnic place locating at the oceanside. Eveline always had this desire to fly away, move on, and travel. I think this was why Frank, who was going to grab her hands on the run, was an adventurer, as a humanized figure of her wish to travel.

           This analysis positioned me in front of the question asking about what trip meant in Dublin, especially at this period, which was probably around late 19th, and the most major transportation of them was usually animal. People may indicate that the transportation that were going to let Eveline be gone was ship, but still, the fact that trip at this period had usually belonged with horse must have affected Eveline’s vision of trip, making it sound more difficult. To sail from England to America, the tourists or immigrants needed 6 weeks to stay at the ship in 1900s. From England to Buenos Aires, the voyage would have taken less time than that, however, it still would not be an easy decision to make. Different from these days, distance meant more problems. Compared to Eveline’s past lifetime, it is plausible to say that it is not too long for a price to gain a new life, however, Eveline must have not been freed from the anxiety coming from the distance.

           There were millions of people immigrated from Europe, seeking happier life in 1900, and Eveline obviously had an aspect of them since she was also positioned under financial and emotional pressure as other usual immigrants. In that way, the refusal of Eveline to go on a trip represents not only the hesitation of other usual Europeans who have considered immigration but also the depression they had to cope with.

1 Comment

  1. I think you make a great point alluding to the emotion that the concept of traveling includes. I think Joyce does a spectacular job of looking inward with his characters, so your interpretation parallels very well with the author’s underlying emphasis on such!

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