Sally Benson Essay

1668 words - 7 pages

Sally Benson's portrayal of Penny Loomis was an extreme stereotype of the women from the late 1800's to early 1900's. Penny WAS the definition of "Little Women". She was small in stature and in mind. Throughout the story, she is referred to as "tiny" by herself, her husband, and everyone she meets. I believe she was proud of this because she was living up to the expectations of society at the time. Men wanted a small woman to take care of and women wanted a big strong man. Louise Matson, who was trying to help Penny, said "if you wanted to look taller you could wear high heels." Penny chose not to associate with her anymore after that. Her frame of mind was to continue being "tiny" because she enjoyed her role or at least thought she did. A wife was supposed to be this way.She was always comparing her size to other things and making comments like "It's all very well for you to talk" "Your feet are decent size, not disgraceful little Chinese feet like mine." I believe in the back of her mind she subconsciously was disgraced due to her actions. She was so simple minded and could only think of her outside appearance and not what was important on the inside. Her husband played along and constantly reminded her of her helplessness and tiny stature. Penny wanted to be small so her husband would treat her as a frail little housewife. Her size is what Ralph was attracted Ralph in the beginning. He enjoyed seeing her "childish round toed shoes lying on the floor." She was like a child that didn't want to grow up. Someone who he could take care of and spoil.He was proud of Penny and would have company over to "marvel at how small she was in an apron" or talk about how tiny she was. She pointed it out over and over and so did he. He was the big man and she was the tiny wife just like it was supposed to be. She had to be needy so he could take care of her and every little thing she needed. She had no life or thoughts outside of Ralph and was not her own person. She had no dreams, no desires other than pleasing Ralph by being helpless so he would feel important. She was lost without him. His main goal in life was to keep doing what attracted him in the first place, being small.There really is no meaningful relationship between Ralph and Penny. He is always doing things to help her survive life because she can't do for herself or won't. They had no children and I believe deep down Penny didn't really want any. She had Ralph "to flutter over and take care of." Her role was kind of that of a child. Simple minded and dependant. Her view of the world was very narrow. It only consisted of Ralph. Penny had no friends and said other women were "all right". She was ok with a man who was tall like Ralph beside her but not with a woman who was tall. She didn't want to be compared and wanted to be the one who stood out not swallowed up because another woman was getting attention.Ralph liked the thought of Penny but slowly began to realize there wasn't any substance to...

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