To understand the true meaning of a work, sometimes one has to look beyond the literal level and analyze symbolism. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” and Edwidge Dandicant’s “A Wall of Fire Rising, “Both stories contain central symbols the birthmark and hot air balloon that help unlock what each character is striving for: freedom. Guy eventually achieves happiness; however, Aylmer does not, resulting in his wife’s death whom he loved dearly.
“The Birthmark” is meant to represent Aylmer’s view on perfection. Aylmer sees the birthmark as a sign of imperfection, which must be removed in order for his wife to be perfect. This ultimately leads to Aylmer’s obsession with removing the birthmark and his wife’s death. In “A Wall of Fire Rising”, the hot air balloon represents Guy’s escape from poverty. The hot air balloon is also a symbol of hope for Guy and his family. Unlike Aylmer, Guy is successful in achieving his goal and escapes poverty.
Symbolism is a key element in understanding both of these stories. Without understanding the symbolism, it would be difficult to understand the meaning of the stories.
In the short story, “A Wall of Fire Rising”, the air balloon is a symbol for freedom. Guy uses it as an escape from his difficult life working on the plantation for little pay. He also used it to think about his life before he committed suicide; right before he died, he felt free and didn’t consider his future of poverty. The hot air balloon also representedGuy’s family because by escaping, he showed that there was hope that they could live outside of their current situation.
The wall of fire at the end of the story could represent Guy’s conscience finally catching up to him. It could also be seen as a physical representation of his life crashing down on him. The wall of fire could also be interpreted as Guy’s way out, burning everything in his past behind him so he can start fresh. All in all, the symbolism in “A Wall of Fire Rising” by Edwidge Dadicant is key to understanding the story and its themes.
The hot air balloon means hope and freedom to Lili. She knows that her son is in a better place, where he is happy and free from worry. Little Guy sees the balloon as freedom from his father. Even though their families have had their hard times, this is his father’s way of becoming happy again too.
Lili’s father also sees the balloon as a way to start fresh. A new life for him and his family. He has high hopes that this will work out for the best. The wall of fire rising in the story is a symbol for hope. Lili and her family have been through so much and this is their chance to start over. They are all hopeful that things will work out for the best.
The birthmark and the hot air balloon are both symbolic of death. Aylmer kills his wife in an attempt to make her perfect, and Guy commits suicide because his life is not perfect. There seems to be a sense of a “perfect life” that nobody can quite achieve. These two things also symbolize mortality; both the hot air balloon and the birthmark end up being fatal for these characters. In trying to get rid of his wife’sbirthmark, Aylmer actually causes her death.
Guy tries to keep the hot air balloon from rising, which ultimately burns him to death. In A Wall of Fire Rising, the fire symbolizes both death and life. The fire kills many people but it is also what keeps Guy alive. Without the fire, he would have died from hypothermia. The fire also provides warmth and light, which are both symbols of life.
Guy dies while using a hot air balloon to escape in search of freedom, while Georgiana fails to find happiness with Aylmer. These two people were both striving for a perfect life, which is clearly impossible to reach. The hot air balloon and birthmark are both symbols for happiness.
Aylmer would be happy if Georgiana’s birthmark was gone because it wouldn’t distract him from how beautiful she actually is, and he fails. The hot air balloon symbolizes happiness because Guy does not have a good life at home. He is able to escape and go to Heaven and live the life he wants to live – something that Aylmer cannot achieve. Guy succeeds while Aylmer fails to achieve happiness or freedom
Aylmer’s wife, Georgiana, has a birthmark on her face in the shape of a small hand. Aylmer is disgusted by it and spends his life trying to find a way to remove it. He eventually succeeds, but at the cost of Georgiana’s life. The birthmark is a symbol for imperfection. Aylmer is obsessed with perfection and he cannot stand the fact that Georgiana has this blemish on her otherwise perfect face. The birthmark represents Aylmer’s own imperfections and his fear of not being perfect. Aylmer is ultimately destroyed by his obsession with perfection.
The symbol of freedom in both stories implies that perfection is only achievable in death. Georgiana’s birthmark disappears when she enters Heaven, signifying her newfound “perfection”. Although Aylmer successfully removes Amina’s one physical deformity, he dies shortly after doing so; while she may be physically perfect now, she is also dead. Guy Montag was not able to achieve perfection in his lifetime but upon his death, he achieves the life he always dreamed of – one free from poverty and worry.
In A Wall of Fire Rising, the fire burning at the end of the story symbolizes Guy’s death. The fact that it is rising represents his ascent to Heaven. The wall of fire also separates him from his family, who are still living in poverty. This symbolizes the divide between the rich and the poor. Even though Guy is dead, he is still able to help his family by giving them money from beyond the grave.