Paralysis is a common theme in Dubliners, and poor Eveline finds herself unable to move forward. She lacks the courage and strength to make that leap that will free her of her oppressive situation. She's too scared to leave Ireland, and sees her lover as a possible source of danger: "All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He [Frank] was drawing her into them: he would drown her" (34). But her paralysis will cost her. Instead of an uncertain but hopeful future, she faces a certain and dismal future that may well repeat her mother's sad life story.
The anonymity of the boy is suggestive of the overall theme of the story, the insignificance of the individual in the larger society. The boy is unnamed because as the story demonstrates in any number of ways, he is unimportant. He lives with relatives who are not his parents which suggests a problem; it is likely the parents have made the crossing and are not yet established to bring the child over, though another possibility is that they have died as a result of the harshness of Irish life. Other suggestions of insignificance include the i... Read more →