Study Guide

Fuse The Color Red

By Julianna Baggott

The Color Red

Unwanted Memories

We know that "red" means "stop." Around Valentine's Day, we're reminded that red's the color of passion. The stripes of red in the American flag symbolize valour and hardiness.

But in Fuse, red just means one thing: a memory of a bloody mist. (Definitely the creepiest kind of mist, in our opinion.)

Pressia thinks about the lullaby her mother used to sing to her, and her mother's face appears in her mind. The bloody mist. (12.17)

Ugh! Make it go away!

If Pressia or Partridge ever see something red, the image of their mother's face exploding usually pops up. It's a trauma that can't be reversed, and the color red dominates their subconscious. Even when Partridge loses his memory, the image still remains:

A sprinkler goes off overhead, puffing out mist. Partridge thinks of blood. A misty veil of blood. The image stains his mind. (62.50)

Argh! There it is again!

When a traumatic event happens, it's almost impossible to forget—even when your memory is surgically altered. For Partridge, he doesn't remember what happened to his mother at this moment, yet he still sees that bloody mist.

Traumatic experiences often propel characters forward; they help keep a character determined, and they serve as the impetus for perseverance. For Partridge and Pressia, we're not sure if the bloody mist is a hinderance or a motivator, but we know one thing for certain. It's not going away anytime soon:

Even now her ears ring and she sees the bloody mist rising. It fills her vision. Red blooms before her eyes like the bursting flowers that shoot up in the Rubble fields. (1.21)

When they hear a bang: red. When they see a flower: red. It's everywhere: as pervasive as nebulous as plain ol' gray mist.