For many adolescents isolation is a feeling that is all too prevalent in their everyday lives. In “Tiny,” the protagonist of the same name is familiar with this notion as well, and the story becomes a window to those who understand what it means to really feel different. Then again, maybe the message is about overcoming the differences to find what one really wants.
All Tiny’s mother wants is to protect her. As a result, Tiny is so sheltered that she doesn’t realize that she is different from anyone else. Not until she sees a boy and response to unrequited love in much the same way modern teenagers do—with retreat, depression and resentment. For her mother, Tiny is a star, a symbol of hope after losing eight other children. This hope is her mother’s motivation for keeping Tiny as safe as possible.
As with “Snow,” in “Tiny” the protagonist’s sexuality is activated upon seeing someone outside of the norm. We can see Tiny’s infatuation with the boy in the description of him blundering around the garden, and how she watches him and finds him both “full of wonder” and “terrifying” (Block, 2000, p. 41). Even further, we witness her discovery of musk as the boy watches Tiny’s mother. A scent that she says is “better than all the flowers in her garden” (Block, 2000, p. 43).
Tiny’s journey is a journey of self-discovery. She realizes that she cannot stay with her mother—that she must try to find what she desires. This desire instigated change in Tiny, though she doubts her own power. Many adolescents doubt themselves, especially when they are unsure of whether or not they can achieve what they want. No doubt some will identify with Tiny on her quest to be part of a world bigger than she is, and have a place that means something.
Block, F. (2000). The Rose and the Beast. New York: Joanna Cotler Books.