Idealism In A Wall Of Fire Rising By Edwidge Danticat

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In “A Wall of Fire Rising” by Edwidge Danticat, Guy is a poor Haitian man stuck struggling in a shantytown with his wife and son. This kind of life is the only one he has ever known but, dreams stir within him. When his son gets the part of a legendary Haitian revolutionary in the school play, Guy’s idealism begins to beat up against the reality of his situation causing this loving father and husband to become increasingly weary of life.
Guy’s idealism shows itself most boldly in his obsession with the balloon. He dreams of escaping the difficult life that he has by taking off in the owner’s son’s hot air balloon that is kept by the sugar mill. His obsession is so great that “During the day when the field was open, Guy would walk up to the basket [of the balloon], staring at it with the same kind of longing that most men display when they admire very pretty girls” (370). What’s more is that he honestly believes that from somewhat distant observation, he could pilot the balloon if given the chance, even though it is a job that requires several people (373, 376). In the field with his wife, Guy makes a plea for her to understand his infatuation with the balloon which is actually an intense desire for escape. He tells her, “Sometimes, I just want to take that big balloon and ride it up into the air. I’d like to sail off somewhere and keep floating until I got a really ice place with a nice plot of land where I could be something new...Just be something new” (375).
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