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In Response to “A Wall of Fire Rising”

November 16, 2010

“A Wall of Rising Fire “is a story about a family struggling both economically and in their relationships with each other. Through the author, Edwidge Danticat, we were introduced to a loving wife and mother, Lili, a son – “Little Guy” and his father “Guy” as they lived a modest life in a shantytown in Haiti. The local sugar mill was nearly the only source of employment and even then, work was scant as no one ever left and new jobs weren’t being created. Danticat opens the reader’s eyes to what it truly means to be dirt poor.  The son, while living in said squalor enjoys an exciting time, where his education is more than his parents and he has been cast to play a revolutionary hero in a school play. We quickly realize the true feelings of this seemingly simple, humble family.

The wife takes care of the family by cooking with what little she could scrape up and by selling any wares that she could garner through credit, at the market.  She does so without a complaint, really, understanding her predicament and seemingly wants to make the best of it.  All she wants is for her son to have the opportunities that she and her husband did not grow up with.  The father, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to escape to greener pastures, where he will have no responsibilities, land and a nice garden to look after; or at least to have his son follow in his footsteps of becoming a sugar mill worker, despite Little Guy’s developing opportunities. I enjoyed reading this story from the perspective of an American citizen whose life was never touched by the devastation that the family in the story has had to deal with, daily. It made me appreciate what I have. I imagined what I would do if the life I know all disappeared. Would I fight the good fight with a smile on my face or would I turn into myself and take the attitude of Guy?

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