Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Wall of Fire Rising

There exists a theme in Danticat’s, “A Wall of Fire Rising”, of hope for the future yet hopelessness or even despair for the present day. In this story an everyday Haitian family is struggling to make ends meet, all the while encouraging their son’s young ambitions.  The father in this tale, Guy, also has ambitions to fly a hot air balloon which resides at the sugar mill and provide for his family, yet is still struggling to accept that they will probably never come to fruition. This becomes evident when Guy and his wife Lili are discussing his dream of flying the hot air balloon and he says, “Me too. I can do other things too.”  
Upon arriving at the sugar mill and seeing the balloon Guy says, “I wager you I can make this thing fly”…..”I know it”. You can see the ever growing desire within Guy to realize his dream, but again he is always brought back down to earth by his wife who accepts him for what he is however, he still longs to be more. Perhaps this is why he insists on going to the sugar mill, not because of the tranquility but rather because it symbolizes his unrealized dreams in the hot air balloon and a full time job.
Guy eventually is given a temporary job at the sugar mill yet it is but a tease as he still remains at number 78 on the permanent hire list. Guy and Lili discuss putting their son on the list so that when he is old enough he will have a job at the sugar mill. Lili says, “For a young boy to be on any list like that might influence his destiny. I don’t want him on the list.” This speaks to the theme of continued hope for the future in their son. Lili does not want her son’s dreams to be crushed by the reality that he was born to clean the latrines like his father did simply because his parents decided it would be best.  

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