Being an immigrant is mostly veryhard, living with the terrible memories makes it even harder. Finding a job isthe easy part about being an immigrant. Being haunted by the memories is theworst part. This is what our main character is dealing with in the short story “Fireweed”by Skye Brannon The main character in the text iscalled Baluta. He lives in America and his real name is Joel. He is fromLiberia from a tribe called Mandik tribe.
“Dese Americans,” Jato said, “if youtell dem your Mandik name, dey look like you’ve given dem a riddle. You telldem your name is Bob, and dey are all smiles.” (ll. 12-13). He lives with his sister-in-law Samaand his brother Jato. They don’t have a lot of money and we can see that whenBaluta is using his brother’s car which is broken. Baluta used to have a biggerfamily, he used to have a father, a sister and a grandmother and together theylived in a hut in Liberia. He feels guilty because he didnothing to save his sister from being raped and later killed.
He also feelsguilt when he uses his brother’s car to get to work, because Jato’s car isalmost broken: “The old Camaro had so many holes in its body, the attempts atduct-tape work had been abandoned” (ll. 19-20). Baluta enjoys the good memories hehas left of his childhood, although there still is a lot of memories which hewants to forget: “The remembering had captured him. That day, the day he wentto get fireweed.
He never wanted to remember that day.” (ll. 125-126).Baluta is living with the guilt ofhis family’s death, but he still tries to live his new life in America.
The story starts by letting us knowthat it is a Remembering day for Baluta. By this it means that our maincharacter is thinking back at his family and especially his sister. We do notknow yet who our characters are but by the names we know that they probablycome from Africa. The beginning of the story tells us that we are going to dealwith a lot of flashbacks. We also get to know that the main character isworking in America and that he has financial issues.
In the middle of thestory we get to know that one of the employees looks scared as a monkey whenshe sees him and this reminds him of the monkey traps his father had made andset back in Africa: