One of the most intense themes in Selby's work is the destructive nature of dreams. The weight of dreams is what crushes Sara and Harry in their own pursuits. It is also crushing to Marion and Tyrone. Each character believes their own dream as a "way to get up in the morning," as Sara puts it. One of the strongest themes is the idea that individuals can become trapped by the weight of their own dreams, crushing their own being in consciousness. Selby reveals a dark underside to dreams as one where individuals are no longer in control of their dreams, but rather one whereby they are controlled by their dreams. In assessing dreams in this manner, Selby reveals dreams to be something that is seductive and can possess an extremely dangerous element when individuals are trapped in a sense of hopelessness and despair in their lives. To this end, the notion of dreams are shown to be a very compelling element, but one that can entrap and ensnare individuals just as easily as a life without a sense of hope.