In "Eveline," James Joyce uses stream-of-consciousness to let the reader in on Eveline's thought process: should she stay in Dublin or escape to Buenos Aires with her lover, Frank? One of the major themes in "Eveline" is that of inertia. Joyce highlights Eveline's inertia through her pervasive lack of action and through his grammatical choices.
Eveline considers her reasons to escape: her abusive father, her tedious life, the excitement of romance and travel. She also has reasons to stay: nostalgia, guilt over leaving her father and young siblings to fend for themselves, and fear of the unknown. Although we are privy to her thought process, Eveline never actually speaks. Frank, her father, her employer, and her mother all have dialogue, but Eveline does not. She also barely moves. For most of the story, she is sitting. Our glimpse of her life as a shopgirl is of her employer telling her to "look lively." When she eventually does decide to meet Frank at the ship, the narrative skips over her actually getting there. We join her again as she stands at the docks. Aside from her one moment of epiphany when she decides, briefly, to leave, Eveline's life is entirely dictated by outside actors.
Joyce makes it clear that Frank will not save her from this inertia. In describing their romance, Frank is the subject and Eveline the object. "He took her to see The Bohemian Girl," and "He told her the names of the ships he had been on." Frank is the driving force behind her desire to go, and her father is the driving force behind her desire to stay. Eveline is powerless, her life subject to the actions of the men in it.
Joyce highlights Eveline's inertia by describing her using passive voice. For instance, "Her head was leaned against the window curtains." It's as if Eveline's head, not Eveline herself, is the actor—Eveline's inertia subjects her even to the actions of her own body. We see this again at the end of the story: "Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy." It is not her reasoned decision that prevents her from getting on the boat (indeed she has stated the decision to leave) but the unconscious actions of her body, a physical paralysis as the outer representation of her psychological paralysis. In the end, she stays not because of a decision to do so, but because she is incapable of making a decision at all.