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Fireweed Case

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Baluta kept thinking of her sister's face and laugh, which appeared as an awakening to Baluta. Every move he did brought back the memories of his sister Alanso's laugh. It was the sign of his now sorrowful reminiscence of his beloved sister.

Baluta is an immigrant from Liberia, who had moved to the United States along with his family, his brother, Jato, and his wife, Sama. Because of the new life, his brother gave Baluta the idea of a name change. A new start on a hopefully better life than before. Joel. It was also due to the fact, that it would probably help Baluta get along with people and interact as an assimilated. His English is quite good, even though he doesn't manage to speak it that well to avoid his highlighted African accent. He pronounces "dat" and "dey" instead of "that" and "they". This too is the same with his brother Jato. Though Baluta isn't very wealthy, he works as a carpenter for the rich people. Him and his family are living a struggled life and they can't even afford beds, but they have to sleep in cots. He is also the one who has to take their single-car to work, because there is no buss line where to Baluta works. This isn't the illusion of a perfect life, but it contains a lot better circumstances than his earlier life in Liberia. But the memory of his sister Alanso is what drags the scale of happiness almost to the bottom-line.

Throughout the story he experiences a lot of flashbacks. The first one he experiences was his dream of Alanso. Then another one on his way to work, when he recalled him and Alanso played by the pond. Here Alanso would tell Grandma Awa of how many fish Baluta had caught, which made Grandma Awa compliment Baluta until he would blush. But the flashbacks aren't just memorable at all. The dark memories he had tried to hide away appears when he first meets the owner. "..he noticed a frightened look on her face, it made Baluta remember his father's monkey traps." (l. 44) He remembered the poor little monkeys, motionless and terrified. When he approached the mound, his mind was full of the thoughts of when he was stung by the ants. Hurtful and crying. But the worst one hadn't crossed his mind yet. It was the word, fireweed. "He never wanted to remember that day." (l. 126) As the woman screamed the word aloud, all of his memories stretched out of his mind. Only one thing appeared in his mind. Grandma Awa who punished little Baluta by making him go out for fireweed. The soldiers with guns and machetes who killed the only people he cared about. The picture in his mind of his father hanging in a tree and Grandma Awa in a puddle of her own blood strikes him. The last line in story the woman shouts: "if I don't get that fireweed, I'm just going to die!" This isn't a coincidence and this angles



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