Baluta and some of his family have moved from Liberia in Africa. It is properly a result of a war caused by “blood diamantes”. We are not told which country Baluta moved to, but it’s an English speaking country. Baluta speaks and understands English very well. That properly means he has lived there for a couple of years. He is earning his money by working as a carpenter. But that doesn’t make him a millionaire. As you already can sense in the start of the story, it’s showed by, they cannot afford a new and bigger bed or a new car or anything else that could make their lives more pleasant.
Another sign is that he lives with his brother and sister-of-law. And they all have to share one bathroom. Baluta is the only one in the family who goes to work by car because there is no bus to the place he works. He doesn’t like that fact; that the rest of the family has to get up very early to take the bus, he wishes that they all could have a car even if it’s an old and used one. Witch also is something that could indicate that the family doesn’t have a lot of money. The story is easy to understand, but doesn’t contains many descriptions of the environment so in that case we have to guess a bit.
But it contains a lot of flashbacks to Baluta’s life in Liberia. All these flashbacks appear because something from Baluta’s life in the new country reminds him of something and someone from his life in Liberia. The first flashback appears when he is taking a cold bath in the morning. “Cold like Kpatawee Falls back home in Liberia, Baluta thought”. And at that point he knows that the day is going to be a day he will remember for the rest of his life. The story stretches over a single day, it is written in third person. In the beginning of the essay Baluta wakes up from a nightmare.
In the nightmare he sees his sister Alanso stirrers at him from the dead. It seems like his sister’s death had given him a harsh time. The Maine theme could very well be exactly like that ”losses and memories”. Baluta tries to keep all his focus on the work, but he gets distracted because of the flashbacks reminding him of something from his life in Liberia that’s if it is a good or a bad memory. One day when he is at work her hears a conversation between a wife and her husband, the wife is yelling at her husband, because he can’t find the specific wall paint colour “fireweed” and the wife only wants that colour in their house.
When he hears the word “fireweed” it is reminding him of a specific day his grandma would give him some of it, because she would punish him for something bad he had done. Fireweed it is a plant that grows among others in North Africa and in the Middle East. But he never gets his punishment, because when he was on his way back home, and their shanty once appears in the horizon, he sees his family are attacked by men in jeeps with guns and machetes. He watches his father hanging from a tree, his grandma in a blood puddle of her own on the ground. We don’t get to know Baluta’s age in the story.
We neither hear of a wife or kids so he could be relatively young man. Baluta is well-mannered to the people he works for, and for everyone else, and when he talks to the women he refers to them with ‘miss’. Baluta is not an easy name to pronounce so he has decided to call himself Joel when he is at work. Baluta is a nice and good person, an example of that is as earlier mentioned, he feels bad because he needs to take the car to work when his family has to take the bus. That makes us believe that is a good minded person. Generally Baluta he is a good person and good at his job and puts others before himself.
Courtney from Study Moose
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