Guy was looking for freedom because his life had always been a difficult one, with him constantly looking for work and at times not being able to feed his family. When Guy describes about the day’s job he received, it says “It was almost six months since the last time Guy had gotten work there. The jobs at the sugar mill were few and far between.” (152) As for their times of hunger, “a pinch of salt under the tongue could usually quench hunger until Guy found a day’s work or Lili could manage to buy spices on credit and then peddle them for a profit at the marketplace.” (150) This further tells us about their constant struggles through life. Living in poverty was taking its toll on him, and he wanted to give something better to his son.
Setting is also a very important aspect. The setting plays a major role in the characters’ lives, and is possibly the reason behind some of their actions. Guy and Lili live in a very small Haitian shanty town, in which life is miserable. The author often describes it as an uninviting place. For example, when they listen to the sounds outside of their house, the author tells us "Lili could hear the whispers of the market women, their hissing and swearing as their sandals dug into the sharp-edged rocks on the road." Guy and Lili don't consider this a comfortable place to live, and the fact that there is little food, and little resources makes their lives even harder to manage.
Symbolism is a huge part of “A Wall of Fire Rising”. The balloon is the biggest symbol here. We have to think about what it symbolizes and how. The obvious answer would be freedom. Hot air balloons can be synonymous with freedom, due to the fact that they fly, and flying represents escaping or going somewhere better, which is what Guy wants. When talking
about flying up in the balloon, Guy says “Think like this. Can’t you see yourself up there? Up in the