The city is represented as something as an invading force that seeks to impose itself more and more on the consciousness of the characters of this story. This is indicated in the second paragraph, in which Eveline remembers what her neighbourhood used to look like before more houses were built:
On time there used to be a field there in which they used to play every evening with other people's children. Then a man from Belfast bought the field and built houses in it...
Eveline remembers how the children of the avenue used to play in that field, and the symbolic sale and development of that field is something that indicates the increasing sense of oppression and burden that the city represents to Eveline as she contemplates her position of entrapment and paralysis. Just as the children now have nowhere to play and enjoy life, so her "home" in the city to her represents increasingly nothing more than drudgery, darkness and toil. It is no accident that the story is set at night and throughout the story the gloom only intensifies.