A Wall of Fire Rising Questions and Answers
by Edwidge Danticat

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Explain how the setting, symbols, and figurative language used in "Volar" and "A Wall of Fire Rising" contributed to how the characters were shaped by their environment and/or scenes from the stories.

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In both "Volar" and "A Wall of Fire Rising," the characters are impacted by their environments, and this is indeed reflected in setting, symbolism, and figurative language.

The setting in "Volar" is perceived primarily through a child's perspective. Therefore, there is an element of fantasy woven through the setting. In reality, the setting is dismal. The narrator notes near the end that her mother's view from the kitchen was of "a dismal alley that was littered with refuse thrown from windows . . . it was never cleaned." The narrator overcomes this by imagining herself to be Supergirl, escaping to an alternate version of reality where she is "sleek and hard as a supersonic missile."

The setting of "A Wall of Fire Rising" is a shack in Haiti where there isn't enough to eat, and the father waits behind over seventy other people in hope of a full-time job where he sometimes works. In this town, there are no opportunities, and he dreams of escaping this setting that offers no hope. He tells...

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