(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

From their first meeting, tall Ralph Loomis is attracted to Penny because of her tiny stature. They both enjoy the attention they receive because of the contrast between their heights. In the few months following their marriage, they entertain friends and seem to experience a satisfying relationship. Ralph enjoys being the protector of such a tiny dependent person; Penny relishes his attentive wonder over her ability to function as an ordinary wife.

Gradually their circle of activity diminishes. Even in the early days of their entertaining, the guests are mostly men. They have no children, and Penny makes few friends. Ralph encourages Penny to leave the apartment and meet with women friends, perhaps to play bridge, but Penny refuses on the grounds that renewing a friendship with the tall Louise Matson would make her look ridiculous.

Even their vacations are affected by Penny’s size and helplessness. When they go on fishing trips to Canada, Ralph must carry Penny over rough terrain and protect her from such unpleasant sights and experiences as hooking a fish. Ralph eventually accommodates himself to Penny’s size by choosing a lodge close to the fishing area.

This kind of accommodation pervades many aspects of Ralph’s life, for example, choosing first-row seats in theaters, putting objects on low shelves, and walking slowly. The slightest suspicion of criticism, however, even if expressed as sympathy about the limitations...

(The entire section is 518 words.)