The main and most important character in the short story “Fireweed” by Skye Brannon is Baluta. Other characters appear either in the present – his brother, Mrs Giles, Tiffany – or in the past memories of Baluta – Alanso, his father, his grandmother. Out of these characters, Tiffany and Alanso are the most relevant for the plot and Baluta’s inner conflict.


Baluta is the protagonist of the short story and the events are rendered by the third-person narrator from his perspective.

Outer characterization

Baluta’s outer characterization reveals that he lives in America where he goes by the name Joel, but he is originally from Liberia, from the Mandik tribe:


Inner characterization

Baluta’s inner characterization indicates the man is haunted by past memories of his childhood in Liberia and has remained traumatized by the killing of his family by soldiers in the diamond war.

He also has feelings of guilt, because he was the only one to survive and did not do anything to stop his sister being raped and killed:



Tiffany is Baluta’s employer and a secondary character in the short story. However, her gestures are what trigger most of Baluta’s buried memories of his life in Liberia.


Inner characterization

Her inner characterization reveals Tiffany to be a frivolous, superficial woman, deeply concerned with appearances and making a drama out of minor issues related to her house,...



Alanso is an absent character from the short story, appearing only in Baluta’s memories, because she had died violently, a victim of the war in Liberia.


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