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Women in Anthony Trollope's and James Joyce's Books

Categories: BooksEvelineWomen

For my GCSE wide reading assignment I will be developing and exploring the important turning point that these two young women must make. The women are Mally Trenglos from ‘Malachi’s Cove’, written in 1867 by Anthony Trollope and Eveline Hill from the book ‘Eveline’, written by James Joyce, in 1904. I will also be looking at the setting for the stories and the differences between the two stories. ‘Malachi’s Cove’ is set in Cornwall, on the North coast. The cliffs are steep and tall with little cottages situated over the towering precipices.

The scene is set between Tinagel and Bossinney, two real places. The Trenglos shack is situated on the edge of a cliff and the access to the cove is restricted and dangerous. Malachi built a stone path leading to his shack and the cove, but the track is still treacherous. Mally is used to the path but it could prove to be lethal to Barty, her neighbour, or anyone else who braves to go down there.

Cliffs are situated to the north and south making access from other routes nearly impossible. Then there is the great hole that Mally knows about and never ventures near.

She would call it, Poulnadioul, which is supposed to translate into the Hole of Evil. It is described as: “The great hole was now full of water, but of water which seemed to be boiling as though in a pot. And the pot was full of floating masses, large treasures of seaweed which were thrown to a fro upon its surface” Line 321 This evil is later the setting for two people to fall in love! At low tide the beach stretches two hundred yards out, but once the tide is in there isn’t much manoeuvrability, with Northwest winds bringing extra seaweed for Mally to collect and sell.

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At one stage the author describes the cove: “… The white curling waves were cresting and breaking themselves with violence, and the wind was howling among the caverns… ” Line 264 This seems to suggest that the cove was a dangerous place to be once the winds gathered speed and the waves whipped up. Situated above the Trenglos shack live the Gunliffes, who live in their Farm, with fifty acres of land. Mally and ‘Old Glos’ (Malachi) have never been the most sociable people to the Gunliffes, because they are used to being isolated and happy not having people around them.

Malachi’s shack was made from wood and next to the living quarters was a hut for the Donkey who helped Mally in her everyday work. I can see the inside of the house to have hundreds of ‘nick naks’ scattered about. These would comprise of shells and unusual stones. Mally’s personality is reflected in the scenery, the harsh jagged cliffs protruding out into the sea, harsh with no flexibility. Even though the wide and choppy sea rages the cliff face deforms slowly over many years, like Mally who will not buckle to anyone’s needs or wishes!

Mally is a very scruffy girl with long flowing hair, which was uncombed and wild tied with a shoelace: “She was a wild-looking, almost unearthly creature” Line 48 Mally’s dress sense was appalling. She wore a thick red serge petticoat and a brown serge jacket, with no sense of fashion or variation. Mally’s clothes are suited for her work in the treacherous conditions. She doesn’t see the point in smartening herself up and as well as that Mally refuses to go to church well dressed. She has a short temper, like when Barty and his horse go down to the beach and she tells him:

“I’ll hamstring the beast next time as he’s down here! ” Line 163 Mally wants to injure the horse because the Gunliffes are stealing seaweed that she thinks belongs to her family only. Malachi deterred her from crippling the horse in case Mally was sent to prison, so he suggested that: “… All manner of impediments should be put in the way of the pony’s feet, surmising that the well trained donkey might be able to work in spite of them… ” Line 204 Mally sets about covering the path in large rock and other obstacles.

Mally is devoted to her Grandfather and will help him in everyway she can. She has worked collecting seaweed ever since Malachi became too frail to continue his trade. She is hardworking and many say she worked all day and night, knowing not of fatigue. She is very skilled at her work and with the help of the Donkey can gather an abundance of seaweed. Mally is exceptionally independent and she wants no help, being content with her own company. Mally also speaks her mind because she’s independent but never thinks of the consequences and this is what lands her in so much trouble with others.

She is inexperienced in the ways of the world and goes at problems like a ‘bull in a china shop’ not thinking about the results. Mally uses the law to get her own way with the Gunliffes but to no avail, as they cannot help her and Malachi stop Barty coming to the cove to collect piles of seaweed. Though Mally has already told Barty she would not rescue him, when he gets into difficulty she rescues him straight away without thinking twice: “Had he been her brother, her lover, her father she could not have clung to him with more of the energy of despair” Line 395.

Once she has rescued him she fears she’ll be suspected of murder if he dies. She asks her Grandfather what to do but decides she must go to the farmhouse and get the help of Mr and Mrs Gunliffe. Mally is in awe of farmhouse with its elegance and comfort, she has been used to a draughty and scruffy shack, not a brick built warm house. The story is written in immense detail describing the scenery and main characters like Mally, her Grandfather, Malachi and Barty Gunliffe the farmers son. Anthony Trollope develops the characters page by page. The final paragraph sums up the story by incorporating all conflict between the two families:

“Old Glos was brought up to the top of the cliff, and lived his few remaining days under the roof of Mr Gunliffes house; and as for the cove and the right of seaweed, from that time forth all that has been supposed to attach itself to Gunliffe’s farm, and I do not know that any of the neighbours are prepared to dispute the right. ” Line 679 ‘Eveline’ is set in Dublin where the Hill family live in a small little brick house down an avenue. Near to her house is a new estate of shiny houses and this is what Eveline recalls at first, playing in what was the field and how her father used to chase her and her brothers with a blackthorn stick.

He wasn’t as bad then, when her Mother was still alive. Eveline has always been afraid of her father because of his threatening of violence and because of his violence she developed palpitations. Eveline was expected to give her weekly wages of seven shillings to help with the running of the house. Her brother Harry used to send her all the money he could, but it was hard to get any money from her father. Her father used to say that she had no head for business and she would squander the money and he wasn’t going give his hard-earned money to throw about the streets.

She recalls a day when Eveline and her family went to the ‘Hill of Howth’ and how her father was so much different then, he had put on her mother’s bonnet to make them all laugh. Once her father had detected Frank he forbid her to see him, stating: “I know these sailor chaps” Line 94 Her father is trying to say I do not trust him, because he’s a sailor. Eveline saw frank as an escape from her current situation; he would save her. Eveline believed that by marrying Frank, she would obtain the respect she deserved, and she would have freedom unlike her mother, who lived a life of drudgery.

Eveline wants to live her own life and not become trapped for the rest of her life. Eveline’s marriage to Frank was one of convenience and escapism, not love. Eveline finds it hard to escape from her home because of the familiarity of the surroundings; she is torn between the know and the unknown. An explanation of this is that Eveline has no self-confidence and cannot make a decision with ease. Eveline finds it hard to leave the house because she had promised her mother, she would keep the house together.

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Women in Anthony Trollope's and James Joyce's Books. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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