The language of “Fireweed” by Skye Brannon mixes several styles, which help the readers better understand the characters and the setting. Throughout narrative passages we can notice standard, easy-to-understand English: “That posture, that clutching, that frightened look, it made Baluta remember his father’s monkey traps. They were just small boxes with a drilled hole and a nut inside.” (ll. 45-46)



Imagery is created both related to the setting and action, using descriptive words which help readers visualize characters, objects and what is happening. Here is one example:


Here, we will focus on the following elements of imagery:

  • Similes
  • Metaphors & Personifications
  • Synecdoche & Metonymy
  • Repetition
  • Symbols

Metaphors and personifications

Several metaphors and metaphoric personifications embellish the narrative. Baluta’s sorrow caused by the death of his sister and family is depicted as “a stone of grief” (ll. 5-6) and the stings of ants are “little fire irons on the skin” (l. 71). The mound of earth is described as “a dot of black in the lush green” (ll. 74-75)...



Repetition is a recurrent language technique in the short story, used to show the way the characters talk or feel. In the next two examples, repetition is used to create sarcasm related to Tiffany’s character: “This, this door needs to go all the way back, not just straight out. All the way back. All of them. All of them should go all the way back.” (ll. 81-83);



Four symbols stand out in the short story. The most important one is that of the fireweed, which also gives the short story’s title. While for Tiffany fireweed is just a color, for Baluta it is a symbol of...


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