What are the three main themes in James Joyce's "A Little Cloud"?

Three main themes in Joyce's "A Little Cloud" are that character is destiny, Dublin is paralyzing to the human spirit, and to be writer, you have to have something to say, not simply the desire for outward fame and fortune.

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One major theme of the story, as so often in The Dubliners , is that character is destiny. People's own fears and hesitations hold them back from seizing what is good in life. Little Chandler is a case in point. He is prim, conventional, and childlike. The colors white and...

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One major theme of the story, as so often in The Dubliners, is that character is destiny. People's own fears and hesitations hold them back from seizing what is good in life. Little Chandler is a case in point. He is prim, conventional, and childlike. The colors white and yellow, traditionally symbols of cowardice, are repeatedly associated with him. As he understands when he examines his life, comparing himself to Gallaher,

What was it that stood in his way? His unfortunate timidity!

He is ever afraid to break out, choosing staying in Dublin with a wife he despises and a child who holds him back. Gallaher, on the other hand, is held back by his drinking, materialism, and desire to get rich, which swamps developing his writing talent.

Dublin and its stunting effects are another theme, again one that runs throughout The Dubliners. Little Chandler blames being in Dublin for his lack of success and wonders if he could ever get to London. The paralysis that Dublin causes leads the timid Chandler to limit his ambitions to a small audience for the literary work he has yet to write. He envies Gallaher for his escape to places likes London and Paris. At the same time, Gallaher has not been able to leave behind Dublin's stunting even if he escaped the town itself. He may have left, but he thinks in the cliches of his home city, using worn out phrases constantly: what this writer says about Paris, for example, is “hot stuff.” He speaks to Chandler in strings of cliches:

See if I don't play my cards properly. When I go about a thing I mean business, I tell you. You just wait.

Anybody can use such meaningless, bragging phrases. Even Chandler begins to realize that what Gallaher practices is "tawdry journalism."

This leads to the third theme: both Chandler and Gallaher are fixated on outward success as writers, but they both lack an inner voice that has something to say. This is reflected in the endless cliches they both use. For example, Chandler thinks as the story opens that

Gallaher's heart was in the right place and he had deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.

Chandler wants to be writer and hopes Gallaher might help him get something into "some London paper for him." But Chandler admits he has nothing to say:

Could he write something original? He was not sure what idea he wished to express...

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