The Power of Freedom in A Wall of Fire Rising
Freedom is described to be the power to act however we want. In our lives, we are granted a certain degree of freedom. It is something that we have overused through time and have taken it for granted. In other places, however, the right to liberty is not so easily obtained. Edwidge Danticat’s “A Wall Of Fire Rising” tells the story of how a man feels as though he is trapped and his desire to break free. The story is set in Haiti and features a small family living in poverty, Guy, his wife Lili and little Guy. We see the story in the point of view of a third-person limited narrator. Guy dreams of an escape and a fresh start, however, his economic standing prevents him from doing so. Through the use of foreshadowing, symbolic imagery, similes and metaphors, Danticat helped to create an image of being trapped. Foreshadowing is used extensively in this story, an example of foreshadowing can be seen when Guy talks to his wife, Lili. Guy mentions about how “a man is judged when he is gone.”
This can be an implication that Guy has been pondering on whether or not he should commit suicide and emphasizing his fears and worries of the consequences of his future actions. Foreshadowing can also be seen when Little Guy is reciting his lines. Right at the end, Boukman, the Haitian hero little Guy is playing, states about how he misses his late father. This could be a foreshadowing telling us of what would happen to Guy and how little Guy feels towards it. The line “I call on everyone and anyone so that we shall all let out one piercing cry that we may either live freely or we should die,” is another foreshadowing that helps reinforce this idea, seeing how similar the line is with the ending of the story.
Another example of foreshadowing is the hot air balloon. Guy talks about how he desires to get the chance of flying the balloon, in which he eventually does in the end. The balloon is also an example of symbolic imagery as it may be a symbol for freedom, something that Guy can use as a literal escape from his life, but also one of which he can never use due to his economic status. Furthermore, the balloon was mentioned to have been used and brought over from America, which is known to be the land of the free.
In the story, Guy often tries to compare his life with things that exemplify freedom. For example, the quote by Guy, “Can’t you see yourself up there? Up in the clouds like some kind of bird?” compares himself to that of a bird. This helps us to understand Guy’s desire to fly and start over as a bird has the freedom to go wherever it wants whereas Guy can’t. Danticat also used a metaphor at the very end when Lili said “My husband, he likes to look at the sky.” The sky in this phrase could symbolize the freedom that Guy longs for, thus, the phrase could be a metaphor saying that Guy failed to be able to acquire his freedom that he so desires.
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