Eveline, emotionally distressed young lady, cannot leave her past behind her to welcome an easier, more fulfilling life. As she reminisces about her childhood, a thought runs through Evelines' head. It is always tragic when a mother dies leaving her family behind.
With Evelines' mother gone, she has to assume her duties and lifestyle. It is her turn to take care of the family and the house. Eveline would have to work extremely hard to support herself, her father, and the two children who she was taking care of. Eveline knew that she would have to ". work hard, at home and at business.” With her father too old to earn and too young to die, Eveline is responsible for him, bound to him like a convict to his cell. Her inspiration to work so hard came from her mother. Eveline made a promise to her mother upon her deathbed ". to keep the family together as long as she could.” This promise is what makes it so hard to live, and even harder to leave, the life of labor and unhappiness. The fantasy of family existing forever is a common one, however it is only a deception. Nothing in this world lasts forever, neither life nor happiness. .
It is the choices we make, consciously and subconsciously, that direct our lives. As Eveline analyzes her life, she realizes that "She must escape! Frank would save her.” Evelines' boyfriend Frank is a young sailor who is willing to take her out of bondage and introduce her to a life of freedom. With him, she would live life for herself, not her abusive father. Eveline knew that she wouldn't stay in her town of origin forever. She knew that the familiar smell of dust would eventually fade just as did the field on which she once playes as a carefree child. "She had a right to happiness,” everybody does. The unfortunate circumstance in lie is that with ones happiness often comes someone else's misery. Eveline couldn't bear to sacrifice her fathers' happiness for her own.