Michael Hague Writing Styles in In the Small

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 1,165 words
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Point of View

"In the Small" by Michael Hague is recounted in the third-person and limited, omniscient perspective. The featured points of view are those of Mouse Willow and his sister, Beatrix Willow. These two youngsters are leaders of their respective survival groups. From these perspectives, the reader gains the insight of the youngsters' struggles and the challenges they face and the conflicts, both external and internal, that they have with their friends and relatives.

Author Hague is also the illustrator of the graphic novel. He is talented in telling a story through the limited dialog and text of this genre of literature. His ability to accurately portray the story through his artful, colorful and relevant drawings brings richness and depth to the story.

One premise that is suggested to explain the attack of the blue light is referred to as the Gaia Effect. This allegedly occurs, according to this fictional account, when Mother Nature becomes so distraught over the damage that mankind has done to the earth that she strikes out to avenge nature. Since this is made part of the story, it is apparent that the author may be a save-the-earth advocate or an activist against global warming.

Setting

"In the Small" by Michael Hague is a graphic novel about a horrible menace that hits earth and targets all of mankind. The setting in which the story begins looks to be New York City. There are tall skyscrapers and the streets are loaded with taxi cabs. The sky is bright blue and everything looks fine. However, just a few moments later, a eerie blue light encompasses the city. But it not only strikes the city, the blue light impacts the entire world and penetrates down to the bottom of the sea and even to the earth's core. The attack of the blue light is depicted in the graphics that help tell this story.

The protagonist, Mouse Willow, is a young intern at his father's office in one of the big skyscrapers when the blue light strikes. The humans are miniaturized to one-twelfth of their size and the office and the terrain outside now present quite a challenge for the tiny people to navigate through. Mouse and the office workers are seen in a big tunnel that leads to the outside. Just as they are about to escape through a vent, they are attacked by rats that are now bigger than they are.

Beatrix, Mouse's sister, and his mother and grandfather are at the family home when the blue light strikes and they are miniaturized as well. Mrs. Willow is pictured next to her toaster which looks to be larger than a car. Beatrix goes out in the yard to find her grandfather. The yard is a jungle and Beatrix has to fight a garter snake that looks like a dragon.

While Mouse leads his followers on a trek through a myriad of obstacles, Beatrix leads her neighbor, Dr. Germain, to her children's school through rugged and tough terrain to learn if her children survived the attack. On each of these treks, the youngsters are met with animals and insects that could easily kill them and with terrain that has become their bitter enemy.

In the end, both kids reach their home again where their greenhouse is being turned into a commune for other survivors. It's a place that has access to fresh water and a place where they can grow food.

Language and Meaning

"In the Small" by Michael Hague is a graphic novel about the potential end of mankind brought on by the sudden attack of a mysterious blue light that encompasses the earth. There are many references to the premonitions and visions that the protagonist, Mouse Willow, has. He had foreseen the end of mankind. Another survivor of the assault on man is a hippie-like character referred to as the D-A-V is visited by angels. He tells of them whispering to him of things to come.

Since the story is told in a graphic novel format, the dialog is clipped and limited to the dialog balloons above the heads of the characters. In addition to dialog, the story depends on small blocks of text that explain and move the story along.

The language of survival is used. Those who lived through the attack, are forced to improvise, finding scraps of rags to serve as their clothing and creating make-shift weapons to protect themselves from the dangerous creatures and men they encounter on the journey to safety. They find places to stay like a turned-over mailbox which is a perfect safe house for their new miniature sizes.

There are also many parallels and references between Mouse and God or Jesus. The term "promised land" is used in reference to finding their way to Mouse's house. The people who Mouse leads to safety are called his "followers" while he is referred to as a prophet and even as the Messiah. The overarching theme of the story is rebirth and renewal which is also religious in nature. There is a mysterious blind prophet named Poppit who is reminiscent of blind prophets referred to in the Bible like Eli. The survivors are looking forward to the safety of the Willow greenhouse which they refer to as a sanctuary - another religious reference. Angels talk directly to the strange survivor called the D-A-V.

Structure

"In the Small" by Michael Hague is a graphic novel that is told in one continuing narrative and not separated by chapters or sections. The story begins on a September morning in a large city when a strange blue light encompasses the world and causes havoc. There is a brief flashback to a few days leading up to the attack in order to demonstrate that the main character, Mouse, had a premonition about the event. Otherwise, the story is told in chronological order and covers roughly a six-month period.

The story ends on a cliffhanger indicating that there will be another episode or sequel will follow this story to explain the ending that leaves the fate of the characters in limbo. It is not clear if "In the Small" was preceded by another book and is actually a part of a series.

The story is told through the dialog of the characters and in the detailed and beautiful graphic illustrations that accompany the story. The drawings illustrate the massive destruction caused by the attack on earth by the mysterious blue light. The artwork provides support to the story that is told in just the brief text and dialog balloons contained in the book. The people of earth are reduced to one-twelfth their normal size. The illustrations help to demonstrate the new stature of the humans. By depicting humans next to rats, house cats, common spider and garden snake, the size differential is made quite apparent. These common and normally non-threatening animals are portrayed as gigantic menaces to the newly miniaturized humans. The illustrations aptly capture the danger that the humans face.

This section contains 1,165 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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