The short story, ”Fireweed”, is written by Sky Brannon and published in 2009. The main theme in the story is immigration and how some people flee from their homes to get to safety, but end up with new conflicts of poverty and permanent wound from their earlier lives.
The story takes place part time at the home of the main character, Baluta, in a ghetto in the States and part time in Liberia. The story takes place around 1980-1990’s, because this is the period of the civil war in Liberia. This could explain why Baluta, Jato and Sama immigrated to the States.
Baluta lives with his brother, Jato, and sister-in-law, Sama. Jato gave Baluta the “American” name Joel for work because the American people do not understand their unusual names “Dese Americans,” Jato said, “If you tell dem your Mandika name, dey look like you’ve given dem a riddle…” Jato’s “American” name is Bob. They are not very good at English and pronounce words that start with “th” with “d”. That indicates that they are not “real” Americans.
Baluta is kind by nature and he is a very nice young man who cares and pays attention to other people. “…Jato and Sama who had to wake up at five a.m. to catch the busses to work. Baluta felt awful for this, but he had to work to get a car, and he needed a car to get to work.” The family’s vehicle, which Jato calls the Swiss Chevy, is an old rusty Camero with several holes in the body. With abandoned attempts of duck-tape-patches, the wind whistles through the holes when he drives. This illustrates the circumstances and the economy of the family.
The story is written in past-tense with an unknown narrator who speaks in a third-person-form. The storyline is chronological and takes place in one day, but with several flashbacks, or remembering, as described. “It was a remembering day for Baluta […] Sometimes remembering began later in the day, but not today”. All the flashbacks appear from different acts in his new life that reminds him of his earlier...