The subconscious in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’: a corpus stylistic analysis that chews on the ‘Fish hook’

O'Halloran, Kieran (2007). The subconscious in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’: a corpus stylistic analysis that chews on the ‘Fish hook’. Language and Literature, 16(3) pp. 227–244.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007072847

Abstract

In James Joyce’s short story, ‘Eveline’, a young woman is thinking about a new life away from an unhappy existence which involves caring for a violent father. In the story Eveline is to elope with Frank to Buenos Aires, but Eveline fails to join him on the night boat. This story has attracted much critical attention. In particular, commentators have picked up on the faint clues throughout that Eveline is not going to leave her home. It is as though Eveline’s subconscious is communicating this while she is consciously reflecting on whether to elope with Frank. But how can such clues be identified in a systematic way whilst responding to the familiar charges made by Stanley Fish that stylistic analysis and interpretation is arbitrary and circular (Fish, 1980a)? In this article, I perform a corpus-informed stylistic analysis of ‘Eveline’ in order to reveal some of these subconscious intimations whilst reducing as much as possible arbitrariness and circularity in analysis and interpretation. To do so, I build on formal insights into ‘Eveline’ provided in Stubbs’ (2001) corpus-informed analysis by proceeding to a more functional exploration of the story.

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