Bonds between family members form the core relationships in Little Dorrit. Strong bonds are not necessarily positive, as shown by the dynasty that controls the government, and weak bonds are frequently signs of healthy independence and maturity, as we can see when the unhealthiest families finally break apart and give their members room to breathe and grow. But nevertheless, where and whom characters come from are strongly correlated to personality, decision-making, and almost all future actions. Family history accounts for both psychological and economic continuity in this novel, presenting a complete and rational emotional world.
The novel is insistent on presenting readers with the dark side of familial love and devotion. Although the novel ends with a marriage, it's deeply significant that Amy and Arthur are not described as having children, which would be the more traditional ending.
According to the novel, those who undergo deep privation or repression in childhood actually end up functioning better as adults than those who live a charmed life as children.