Hughie Devlin is introduced as a nine-year-old boy. Through the play his relationship with Lucia grows from argumentative to friendly to loving.
Hughie's character is:
Even as a child, Hughie's work ethic is apparent. He continues
working like a Trojan'' throughout the play. This defies Rosinella's stereotype of Scottish men being lazy. Although Rosinella says
I don't know anybody works so hard as the Italian men, the audience knows she does - Hughie immediately enters with a pail and mop.
Hughie cares deeply for his family. He declines Rosinella's offer to stay for dinner, stating that
I don't like my mammy being left on her own. Again, this undermines Rosinella's opinion that:
Nobody loves their families like the Italians
Hughie's feelings for Lucia develop from friendship to romantic love. With Bridget's encouragement, he attemps to tell Lucia how he feels. However his attempts are unsuccessful.
Hughie's inability to tell Lucia he loves her could be attributed to his self-consciousness and feelings of inferiority.
How do we know Hughie feels inferior to Lucia?
I've nothing to offer Lucia.
Through the play, Hughie struggles to express his fellings. However, by the end, Hughie's love for Lucia provides him with the courage he needs to fight for her. He declares
I have come for Lucia and I'm not leaving without her.. When all other options are gone, Hughie has the determination to follow his heart to win the woman he loves.