(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator recalls moments as a five-or six-year-old girl when she would spend her days watching Amanda work at her sewing machine, transforming cloth into fantastic dresses, and spend her nights thinking about Amanda’s creations until she fell asleep. Amanda was her connection to the world of creation, as well as a link to the larger social world that Amanda relayed to her through provocative gossip about the men and women she knew in South Texas.

The narrator is not completely comfortable, however, in Amanda’s presence. Although she can speak freely with other people, with Amanda she is rendered almost speechless because she is sure that Amanda is indifferent to her.

The narrator has other apprehensions about Amanda. It is rumored around town that Amanda and her friends Librada and Soledad are associated with magic. Although no one considers Amanda a real enchantress, her special powers make the children, at least, believe that she has little figurines that are exact replicas of everyone who had ever crossed her.

When Librada visits the narrator’s house, she leaves behind a slimy substance in which the narrator puts her arm. The narrator and her mother both think the substance is associated with Librada’s status as a witch, so the mother takes the substance outside in newspapers and burns it.

The narrator believes that Amanda is part of a complex plot that she cannot figure out. Although out of fear she...

(The entire section is 535 words.)