A Wall Of Fire Rising Analysis

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Feelings of Inadequacy and Low Self-Worth Feelings and emotions can manifest themselves in many ways. Some individuals bottle them up while others wear them on their sleeve. Guy, from Edwidge Danticat’s “A Wall of Fire Rising,” focuses on operating a hot air balloon to escape his feelings of inadequacy, even at the expense of his family. The author uses Guy’s feelings of inadequacy to show how poverty and social expectations can take a toll on a person’s idea self-worth. While others may interpret Guy’s motives differently in the end he is successful in avoiding his feelings but left a broken family behind. In the 1900s men were seen as the breadwinners of the household. It was the job of the father to provide food, clothes and shelter to…show more content…
The weightlessness that they appear to have and the ability not to catch fire is stunning. Rather than seeing the hot air balloon as a piece of art Guy saw it as an escape from his current life and a transport to a new one. As Guy sits with his wife, Lili, watching the balloon float by he describes his want to “sail off somewhere and keep floating until [he gets] to a really nice place with a nice plot of land where [he] could be something new” (375). As he continues to watch this balloon he questions how he will be judged after he is gone (375). Guy preoccupies himself with the hot air balloon as a way to escape the stifling feeling of inadequacy. He dreams that death or flying away is his only liberation from the realities of his family situation. When asked by his wife “[y]ou could be injured. Do you ever think about that?” Guy responds by avoiding her concern and replying “[d]on’t you ever want to be something?” (375). When asked if Guy ever thinks about hurting himself his response was, “[t]hink like this. Can’t you see yourself up there? Up in the clouds somewhere like some kind of bird” (373)? Guy’s inability to comprehend his wife’s logic and inability to give a clear answer furthers the thought that Guy’s obsession with the hot air balloon is emotional transference. Even though the outcome of the story was depressing the author made several points about social norms and their effects on individuals. Guy had overwhelming feelings of inadequacy because he couldn’t provide enough for his family. Since he was the head of the household it was seen as his obligation to make enough money for his family to survive. Guy transferred his emotions onto the hot air balloon as his escape from his life. His reality held expectations that were too big for him to handle and the hot air balloon seemed to be his only
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