“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.”
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 Balutas
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.