Review: Edwidge Danticat's 'A Wall of Fire Rising'
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Only Take So Much
Edwidge Danticat's "A Wall of Fire Rising" is a tale about despair. This despair is widely born of poverty, and has a tendency to encompass its victims in such a way so that they are led to believe that there is no way out of it. Unfortunately, these conditions are all too common in Haiti, and are some of its "negative aspects" (Schuller 28). Guy is a victim of this despair. His father was a victim of this despair. And chances are his son, Little Guy, will be the same victim of such despair which is why his mother, Lilli, strives so hard to keep him away from the lifestyle that is lived by both Guy and Guy's father. It was because of this legacy of despair and of the fatigue of enduring a seemingly hopeless situation that Guy ultimately commits suicide which was the only way he could fathom out of his present existence.
The author makes it quite clear that Guy is disillusioned with his impoverished life. The author purposefully includes several details (such as the family's cleaning with rain water and the shabbiness of Lilli's clothes) that denotes the penurious conditions they exist in. However, the following quotation (in which Guy discusses his career prospects) displays just how hopeless the poverty this family endures is and which ultimately leads to Guy to kill himself.
I am still number seventy-eight on the permanent hire list," he said. "I was thinking of putting the boy on the list now, so maybe by the time he becomes a man he can be up for