(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Isis Watts is perched on the gatepost of her home, looking with longing up the road to Orlando. The conflict between the child and her grandmother is evident from the opening paragraphs. Isis is a child who is filled with the joy of life and yearns for the horizon, while her grandmother urges her to stop dreaming and instead work around the house. Isis has earned the nickname “Isis the joyful” among the neighbors, but her grandmother seeks to restrain the child’s exuberance and orders her to sit on the porch like a lady rather than romp with the dogs in the yard.

After the noon meal, Grandma falls asleep with her sewing in her lap. Isis and her brother Joel decide to shave the gray hairs on their sleeping grandmother’s chin. The children get into mischief and make a mess, lathering the dogs and the walls with shaving soap. Grandma, her face covered in lather, awakens to discover Isis standing over her, razor poised. Grandma exits screaming, Joel runs off to go fishing, and Isis crawls under the house to await the whipping that is sure to follow the adventure.

Isis is quickly distracted by a parade of people marching down the road to a community barbecue. His spirits rise, and she begins to run and dance after the band. Realizing that her dress is torn and dirty, not suitable for dancing at a carnival, Isis snatches up her grandmother’s new red fringed tablecloth, which she wears like a gypsy shawl as she imitates a Spanish dancer,...

(The entire section is 531 words.)