Being an immigrant is mostly very hard living with the terrible memories makes it even harder Finding a job is the easy part about being an immigrant Being haunted by the memories is the worst part This is what our main character is dealing with in the short story Fireweed by Skye Brannon The main character in the text is called Baluta He lives in America and his real name is Joel He is from Liberia from a tribe called Mandik tribe Dese Americans Jato said if you tell dem your Mandik name dey look like you ve given dem a riddle You tell dem your name is Bob and dey are all smiles ll 12 13 He lives with his sister in law Sama and his brother Jato They don t have a lot of money and we can see that when Baluta is using his brother s car which is broken Baluta used to have a bigger family he used to have a father a sister and a grandmother and together they lived in a hut in Liberia He feels guilty because he did nothing to save his sister from being raped and later killed He also feels guilt when he uses his brother's car to get to work because Jato s car is almost broken
The old Camaro had so many holes in its body the attempts at duct tape work had been abandoned ll 19 20 Baluta enjoys the good memories he has left of his childhood although there still is a lot of memories which he wants to forget The remembering had captured him That day the day he went to get fireweed He never wanted to remember that day ll 125 126 Baluta is living with the guilt of his family's death but he still tries to live his new life in America The story starts by letting us know that it is a Remembering day for Baluta By this it means that our main character is thinking back at his family and especially his sister We do not know yet who our characters are but by the names we know that they probably come from Africa The beginning of the story tells us that we are going to deal with a lot of flashbacks We also get to know that the main character is working in America and that he has financial issues In the middle of the story we get to know that one of the employees looks scared as a monkey when she sees him and this reminds him of the monkey traps his father had made and set back in Africa That posture that clutching that frightened look it made Baluta remember his father's monkey traps
They were just small boxes with a drilled hole and a nut inside ll 45 46 Another thing that triggers a flashback is a woman's ring The diamond in this ring makes Baluta think back at Liberia They think they've found diamonds in our mountain Baluta s father Idirissa had once told him gravely The war will be coming our way soon Baluta remembered ll 94 95 In the ending readers finally get to know why the Fireweed triggers such a strong emotion in Baluta He saw little Alanso s ten year old body limp naked in the sun being passed from one soldier to another his pants mingling with the dust Sting sting sting ll 139 141 We know that the story was published in 2009 however this is not the time and year the short story takes place The story took place in about the ending of the 19 th century when there was a Civil war going on in Liberia This war was all caused by the diamond mining Mainly the setting is in the United States and an example of this can be seen in the beginning of the text In Valutas memories we are in Liberia this happens several times throughout the story and from this we also know that the family used to live in a hut
The title means several things Before we read the story the word Fireweed does not mean anything to us As we read the story it starts to make more sense after all Fireweed is a sort of a pink colored stingy plant The title is symbolic The color of the plant could possibly refer to his sister because that is the only good thing about his memories The stingy part refers to the bad part of his childhood memories when his family got killed Mainly the themes of this short story are guilt and trauma and a side theme of the text is disparity The message that the narrator wants to send out is that other people who live around the world does not understand how hard it is for an immigrant to move to another country while being traumatized by the past and this is not the only hard part there is by moving to another country
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