The journey from childhood into adulthood can be an exciting time, but also sometimes worrying.

Children who are entering adolescence are going through many changes (physical, intellectual, personality and social developmental), but Julia, the main character of the short story “Walk Don’t Run” (2018) by Douglas Bruton, cannot wait and is very eager to become an adult as soon as possible.

The short story “Walk Don’t Run” by Douglas Bruton is told from the point of view of a first-person narrator, who is the main character.

The narrator is a 14-year-old girl named Julia. She is named after her grandmother (ll. 7-8), and her family says she also looks like her mother and grandmother when they were her age (ll. 84-86).

The narrative revolves around their relationship and the narrator’s internal conflict as she resents having to take care of her old grandmother, while still feeling connected to her and needing her advice.

The relationship between the narrator and her grandmother is complicated because of the mixed feelings the narrator has about her.

The narrator does not like taking care of her grandmother and is frustrated that she has to spend her weekends like this when she could be spending time with her boyfriend instead (ll. 21-25).

She also feels disgusted by the grandmother’s physical condition and uses several negative similes to describe her grandmother:

…her fingers turned into knots in her shallow lap, folded there like the curled legs of dead spiders or like the clutched feet of dead birds.

And her skin dark, like old wood (…) one of her eyes cloudy like the eye of a grilled fish. (ll. 16-19)

When she mentions that someone relieves her from her job at six, she says “they’re never late and I should be grateful for that” (ll. 33-34).

This suggests that she sees taking care of her grandmother as an unpleasant job.

However, the narrator does the job carefully and thoroughly, despite her reluctance. This suggests her underlying affection for her grandmother.

The questions the narrator asks her grandmother are specific and personal. She asks about the grandfather’s feelings for her (l. 93) and about his sexual behavior towards her (ll. 103-104).

These personal questions show the narrator’s wish to be guided and advised in this matter by someone more experienced, like her grandmother.