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Fireweed is written by Skye Brannon sample essay

The short story “Fireweed” is written by Skye Brannon, it is a story about a young man named Baluta. He emigrated from West Africa to US, with his brother Jato and his sitster in law Sama. The story is about how an ordinary workday can trigger memories from the past. In the beginning his memories are filled with happiness, because it is about his family back in Liberia. But as the story evolves, his memories, which he desperately ties to forget presents them selves.

The main character, Baluta immigrated to US about 1980-1990’s because of the civil war in Liberia. In the short story it is written that“ The war will be coming our way soon. It was the first time Baluta saw fear behind his father’s strong eyes”. This may be the reason why Baluta left Africa and immigrated to US. Baluta and jota is not very articulate. And their problem with the English language is portrayed by the author substituting a normal English vocabulary and choose to write sentences frenetically, for instance “ Dese Americans, Joto said, if you tell demy out Mandika name, dey look like you have given dem a riddle…”

Though the characters may have some problems with the language, it is not said directly that they are stupid. Furthermore is seems that Baluta is a very thoughtful young man, who pays attention to the people around him. He is keen to make the people around him feel good in his company, and he finds it sad when he is incapable of making life easier for others. He feels very sad that he need to use the car, to get to work, because then his family have to get up early to cheat the buss to work. And another example is that he makes sure that the people he works with doesn’t have any problems pronouncing his name and therefore chooses to take the name Joel. He is very kind to other people, even though he had a very hard childhood in Liberia.

He was an eyewitness to the murder of his family and unfortunately the memory of this still haunts him. His bad childhood, have made him in to a very sensitive person. Even though he has immigrated to US to get a better life, he stills live in a ghetto[1] which is seen in 8th sentence in the beginning of the text “Baluta washed in the shower, cold after his brother and sister-in-law had had theirs” this quotation shows how poor they are, because they don’t have enough hot water for three people to shower in the morning. But not only the problem with the hot water shows how poor they are, the car Baluta use to go to work every day is in such bad condition that Jota refers to it as the “ Swiss Chevy” like the Swiss cheese. And the attempts of the duct-tape patchwork and the whistling sound the car makes at speed, clarifies the state of it.

The short story follows a chronological storyline, with some flashbacks. It all starts with Baluta thinking of his little sister Alanso. His memory of her is loving and happy like her self when she was alive. Which is mentioned in the text “ It was Alanso’s laugh, flowing like doves out of her bright smiling mouth. It was Alanso’s laugh, out from between those cheeks caught the sun and held it in a warm glow the rest of the day”. After having the first flashback, his day carries on as normal.

On his way to work, he passes a lot of golf resorts and drives trough a big gate, this gate can symbolize a “gate back in time”, to his time in Liberia, because on the other side of the gate he gets a another flashback. The neighborhood he drives in reminds him of his father and the monkeys he used to train. Another flashback comes to him as he sees Tiffany’s diamond ring reflects the sunlight into his face. He can hear his father telling him “ they found some diamonds in their mountain”. He returns to his work, just to be reminded of his past ones again. Just by hearing the word Fireweed, he is drawn back to the time where he lost his family or some of it. He relives it all, and are ones again forced to stand face to face with death and loss.

There are many themes in this short story, but some of the main themes are loss, he looses his family or some of it, which he are trying to forget, the proverb, Wherever you go, your problems will follow you, even though you try to run or somehow try to get away from your problems they will follow you until you deal with them. This seems to underline theme here. Another theme is immigration. Some people flee from their homes, go get to some kind of safety. This short story is able to twists our reality, and puts in an immigrants’ shoes.

This short story makes us think about life and death, and how easy it is to loss someone you love and are force to leave everything to get to safety.

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