Fireweed Essay

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Fireweed – Essay


Fireweed is a short story written by Skye Brannon. In the text we are introduced to Baluta who is the main character. Baluta lives in the USA. We are not told what city Baluta lives in, but there is something mentioned about ghettoes in his neighborhood. This indicates that Baluta lives like many other Afro-Americans. His childhood city is described as a little Shanty town in Africa. We don’t know about Baluta’s age, however, long time ago he moved to America, possibly due to an outcome of war where something really sad happened to him and his family. In the text it’s stated that he lives with his big brother Jato and his sister-in-law Sama. When they are at work they don’t use their real names, but instead they prefer more common English names. Baluta’s English name is Joel, made up by his brother “Bob”. The reason for this is given in the text, “Dese Americans, if you tell dem your Mandika name, dey look like you’ve given dem a riddle. You tell dem your name is Bob, and dey are all smiles” which indicates that they may be afraid of the different society in some way, like the ‘people’ being mentioned have no reason to smile at them, which in the end means that Baluta and his family are looking for approval. They all have jobs and Baluta drives the family’s Chevy every day, as there are no buses driving to his work site. Baluta feels bad about the fact that he is the one who drives the car, as Jato and Sama have to get up earlier than Baluta to take the bus. The new Chevy has substituted their old Camero as they could no longer cover the holes in the Camero with duct-tape, indicating that they are probably not the wealthiest family, although Baluta does work as a carpenter. 
In the text there are several occasions where Baluta remembers something about his life in Liberia. The reader is introduced to Baluta’s flashbacks that reveal a terrible history. The short story is built up in two parts and it’s written in past tense. The first part is...
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