In the Small - Pages 1 through 15 Summary & Analysis

Michael Hague
This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of In the Small.
This section contains 1,129 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Pages 1 through 15 Summary

The opening scene is that of a downtown business area of a large city. Workers in casual dress are seen walking along the street, presumably to their jobs. One man is carrying a lunch box. A woman has a lap top carrier across her shoulder. The backdrop of the scene is a cityscape of large skyscrapers that soar into the bright blue skies. Most of the cars on the street are taxis. The look and feel of the picture is reminiscent of a large city like New York. The only text on this page is, "It was a beautiful September day."

The city is suddenly encompassed with a mysterious blue light. It covers everything. There is a smoky quality about the light. But the light doesn't just stop at the city limits, the light penetrates deeply into the ocean where jellyfish and starfish flourish. The tunnels beneath the city where subways operate is also flooded. The light isn't just restricted to the city or the ocean. The light is scene by explorers in caves. And its impact isn't just limited to America. It encompasses the Far East and, in fact, the entire world. Although no one could easily determine it, the blue light races through the earth's mantle all the way to its core.

But the light only lasts a short time. It disappears as quickly as it had appeared. Everything returns to normal. The birds are singing in the country. The cows are once again grazing on the grass. The skies are blue and the plants and flowers seem unharmed. There is something very wrong. It seems that the people are all gone. But on close inspection, But they aren't gone. They have just been greatly reduced in size. Their clothes fall off of them because they are now so much smaller.

The light has reduced human beings to one-twelfth of their former size. Additionally, it seems that all of man's technology has been rendered useless. Helicopters and jets plunge to earth. Trains and trucks cease to work. Fires break out in the large buildings and cathedrals but no one is able to put them out. Worse yet, there are injured people in need of medical assistance. But there is no one to help them. Law enforcement officers are just as impacted leaving the cities without protection. The people are now smaller than rats and are facing new dangers. Some people are desolate and ready to give up. They feel that they have been relegated to the bottom of the food chain. Others, however, are determined to survive.

On September 7th, several days before the blue light hit, a businessman named Mr. Willow is interrupted by his assistant who tells him that his son just fainted in the copy room. Mr. Willow rushes to his son's side. His son, who he calls Mouse, is on the floor and just coming to. He tells his father that when Mrs. Reynolds, who was wearing a bright blue dressed, walked by it caused him to have a vision which then made him feel faint. He fears that there is a great catastrophe that is going to strike all of mankind.

Mr. Willow fears that Mouse might be right since his premonitions have always been accurate. He decides that he better check on his wife and daughter, Beatrix. It is just then that the light hits. His wife is seen on the kitchen counter, now smaller than her toaster. She is frightened and worries about where her daughter is. She calls for Beatrix who at first doesn't answer. Beatrix is stuck on a top shelf of her bookcase, dwarfed by the size of her books and movies. Her mother hears Beatrix calling for her and rescues her. Beatrix is concerned about the whereabouts of her grandfather, George.

Pages 1 through 15 Analysis

The only text on the first page is: "It was a beautiful September day." The graphic is that of a city that very much resembles New York City. The skyscrapers are seen against a clear blue sky. The combination of the large American city, the bright blue skies and the "September day" is a not so subtle reference to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It's a premise with an ominous tone hinting to the reader that something very bad is about to happen.

The reader learns that the menace is a mysterious "blue light." At this point, it is not clear what the impact of the light is or what danger it represents. People do seem to be afraid of it or at least are startled by it. The light is all encompassing and does not seem to be targeting any certain area. It is a powerful light which is evidenced by the fact that it penetrates all the way to the earth's core. The question that lingers at this point, is what the source of this light is and what harm might it bring to earth. The chance that the light is from an alien source is certainly a possibility.

The menace as left everything in tact: the skies are blue again, the animals and plants seem to be unharmed. But the people all seemed to be gone. The light apparently targeted the humans. But they weren't gone. They had been reduced to 1/12th their normal size. Man's machinery had also been targeted by the light. Planes and trains and trucks no longer worked. People were desolate and feared they couldn't survive. They had good reason since they were smaller than the rats that roamed the street still at their normal size. It is apparent that someone or something wants to destroy the human race in a very slow, cruel manner.

Mouse Willow apparently had a vision of the catastrophe a few days before it happened. His vision was triggered by a bright blue dress that a co-worker wore. Why did the blue dress trigger Mouse's vision? It apparently was a precursor of the blue light that was about to strike earth. Mouse apparently has psychic powers because he seemed to have been right about the vision. Mr. Willow fears that Mouse's vision is right because he was right about other premonitions. Mouse is a psychic and may become the leader of the humans because he will be able to foresee other dangers.

Back at the Willow home, the light strikes and reduces Beatrix and her mother to a size smaller than their books or toaster. They feel they are living in a nightmare with good reason. They have no idea what happened or how Mr. Willow and Mouse are and Beatrix' grandfather is. Did this strike everywhere or was it just them somehow. At that point they just don't know. They are terrified.

This section contains 1,129 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
In the Small from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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