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...