Eviline is unlike any other love story. Yes it is about young love and the hardships the couple were faced with, but the out come is very different. Eveline, who has already been courted by Frank, is planning on marrying him and "to live with him in Buenos Ares"(5). Or has she really made up her mind? When she meets him at the station and they are getting ready to board the ship, all of the sudden Eveline changes her mind and decides that she cannot go with Frank. "He would drown her" in "all the seas of the world"(7) if she was to leave everything that she has known. But Eveline's rejection of not just a rejection of love, but also a rejection of a new life and a way to escape the hard life she has already come to accept. Water is used as a practical means of escape; it also symbolized rejuvenation and emotional vitality. It is used to show everything that Eveline looses through her fear and lack of courage. By not plunging into the "seas of the world that tumbled about her heart"(7), Eveline abandons the thoughts of escape, life and love for the past, duty, and death.
Moving eastward in "Eveline" is in relation with new life. But for Eveline, sailing eastward with Frank is as much of an escape as a promise of something better. From the beginning of the story, she is submissive and tired and tends to remember old neighbors, like "the Waters" who have moved east "to England"(4). She looks forward to "going away like the others"(4). She openly admits that she will not be missed at her job; and at nineteen, without the protection of her older brothers, she is beginning to feel "herself in danger of her father's violence"(4). Her father confiscates what little money she earns and expects the world in return. He requires her to take care of him, the house, and her two younger siblings. The sound of a street organ playing an Italian tune is not only a temptation from the east but a reminder that her mother is no longer with her. She swears that she cannot end up like her mother, "living a life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness" and her only recourse is to "escape" with Frank. "He would save her"(6) if she goes with him across seas. When she fails to leave with him, she is sucked into the prospect of an imprisoning life like her mother's.
Water symbolizes rejuvenation and all of the possibilities that come along with a new life. ...