Last Updated on August 16, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 434
Transformation was definitely her speciality.
This quote is part of the opening line of the short story. The word "transformation" serves a dual purpose throughout the short story in emphasizing the creative power of Amanda, the transformational power she has on the narrator, as well as the possible magical power the mysterious and creative seamstress might possess.
Transformation is a central idea throughout the short story, and it holds multiple meanings for the narrator as she reflects back on her life in South Texas after moving to California. Transformation is what characterizes the work that the narrator idolizes; Amanda seems to possess a supernatural quality to produce beautiful artistic works, and this is partially the reason for her being associated with witchcraft. However, transformation is also a point of sadness for the narrator, as she considers how she has changed since she was a young girl.
They had a stare that seemed to go right through you, and you knew that no thought was secret from them if you let them look even once into your eyes.
This quote emphasizes the way that the two elderly women, who are friends with Amanda, are perceived by the other characters in the community. No one doubts that the two older women are brujas, as they carry around herbs and little bottles suspected to be potions. However, it is clear that the older women have never harmed anyone, and it is, rather, their refusal to hide themselves and the self-assured way that they move through the world that is feared. This fear is shown to be imparted on the narrator; she is filled with awe and fear when one of the women, Librada, comes to her door and asks for the narrator to call her mother, despite the woman not actually harming her or saying anything harmful. It isn't until Amanda dispels the narrator's fears that she questions her own, ingrained reaction to the women.
As I looked at Librada for the first time, I felt that the room was not big enough to hold all the emotion inside me.
Transformation is seen once again through this quote as the narrator talks about actually seeing Librada for the first time. As the narrator moves about the room in her new witch's cape that Amanda lovingly made for her, she finally realizes that she's never truly "seen" Librada beyond the stereotypes and rumors that are whispered about her. She recognizes the freedom and power that come with moving through the world in an unconventional way and begins to embrace the beauty of her own identification as a "witch."