Today we hosted a short story discussion and this is what we learned…
We read Eveline by James Joyce. A fantastically compact short story about a 19-year-old woman in Dublin at the turn of the 20th century. She stands at the port, paralyzed by the decision of whether to go away to a new life in Argentina with a man she’s engaged to but hardly knows, or stay at home in a life of obligation and monotony that she knows and doesn’t love.
“She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy?”
We talked about how it can be easier to stay in your comfort zone, even if it’s an unhappy place, than to venture into the unknown and enjoy all the potential freedoms, adventures and opportunities that come with that.
We wondered how much memories, positive and negative, influence our decisions.
We asked why it’s so tempting to hold onto the past, sticking with the familiar, mindlessly repeating the same things day in day out, rather than leaning into the temptation to try something new.
In true James Joyce spirit, there are no answers. But we all felt we'd be able to come back to Eveline and the questions she provokes when faced with difficult decisions, in life and in work.
Get in touch if you'd like to join one of our short story discussions!