Eveline

Dust Symbol Analysis

Dust Symbol Icon

Dust represents monotony. The dust in the house keeps collecting no matter how frequently Eveline cleans it, paralleling the monotony of Eveline’s life in Dublin: she is constantly taking care of people or cleaning, only to wake up and do the same thing the next day. The children will always grow hungry again just as the dust will always collect again.

In the opening lines, Eveline breathes in the scent of “dusty cretonne” and notices that she is tired. The dust is a reminder of her endless daily tasks, which seem empty of meaning. Dust also represents death, or the cyclicality of life. It calls to mind the Biblical phrase “from dust to dust,” which implies that dust is simply the absence of existence, either pre- or post- life. At one point Eveline wonders “where on earth all the dust came from,” not because she is genuinely curious but because she is fed up with the senseless repetition of her housework.

Dust Quotes in Eveline

The Eveline quotes below all refer to the symbol of Dust. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Paralysis and Inaction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Eveline published in 1993.
Eveline Quotes

Home! She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years, wondering where on earth all the dust came from. Perhaps she would never see again those familiar objects from which she had never dreamed of being divided.

Related Characters: Eveline Hill
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 29 – 30
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt molli

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window, leaning her head against the window curtain, inhaling the odour of dusty cretonne. Down far in the avenue she could hear a street organ playing. She knew the air. Strange that it should come that very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could.

Related Characters: Eveline Hill, Eveline’s Mother
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 32 – 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Dust Symbol Timeline in Eveline

The timeline below shows where the symbol Dust appears in Eveline. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Eveline
Paralysis and Inaction Theme Icon
The Many Forms of Death Theme Icon
...against the curtains, watching dusk fall on her street. She notices that it smells like “dusty cretonne” (heavy fabric used for upholstery) and that she is tired. There is hardly anyone... (full context)
Paralysis and Inaction Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
The Many Forms of Death Theme Icon
Catholic Values and Confinement Theme Icon
...is suddenly overcome with nostalgia as she looks around at the objects that she has dusted over the years. She wonders where the dust comes from, and then realizes she may... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
The Many Forms of Death Theme Icon
Catholic Values and Confinement Theme Icon
...was sick, and entertained the children on a family picnic. Eveline notices the smell of dusty cretonne again and hears a street organ playing outside. She knows the tune, and it... (full context)