In this first passage, Stephen is playing a game of soccer so as not to get punished by his prefect. He keeps "on the fringe of his line" and "out of sight" of his prefect," and out of reach of the rude feet", "feigning to run now and then"(21). Stephen is different from everyone else, as he is not interested in the game, but scared of getting punishment for it. He is missing the opportunity to have fun because of this fear that overtakes him, or this indecision that makes him an outcast to everyone. The soccer ball, the "greasy leather orb", flying "like a heavy bird through the grey light"(21), seems to symbolize this missed opportunity and the overall uniqueness of Stephen Dedalus.
The second passage demonstrates how Stephen is different and also remorseful of a missed opportunity. He has the chance on the tram to kiss a girl for the first time, and he refuses to do it, out of fear, or indecision. After this incident, he goes home and attempts writing a poem about it, overcome by remorse and hatred for missing his chance. This poem takes place on the tram, only differently, as if he had chosen to kiss her. The pure and beautiful poetry of the subject matter of the poem shows how Stephen is different than everyone else, with his artistic creativity to write poems. Joyce writes, "The verses told only of the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden lustre of the moon"(74). This symbolic moon is again symbolizing missed opportunity and the individuality of Stephen.