The story “The Wall” by Jean Paul Sartre is about three prisoners who are about to be executed. The story is in a Spanish setting where the prisoners were arrested when the civil war broke out. Before they were arrested, all of them were living normal lives and they never thought that they would ever be facing execution. Now that they have been arrested, they are facing alienation (Sartre, 2011). Alienation is that process where somebody is isolated from his or her daily routines and he or she is made to be powerless (Lipsky 75). Since they have been arrested, they are powerless and they are separated with their execution by a wall. In the story, alienation plays an important role and it has a lot of significance.
Alienation has expressed the characteristics of the different characters in the story, that is, the three prisoners. Before they were arrested, they were not faced by alienation but after they have been arrested, they are deeply faced by alienation. It is because of this that they exhibit the different characteristics showing their real self. For example, Pablo, one of the prisoners, is happy to have two cellmates but after noticing how weak they are due to lack of power, he distances himself from them (Sartre, 2011). Therefore, alienation has played a significant role because it has shown the character of Pablo, which is strong no matter what the situation.
Alienation has also played a significant role in expressing the thesis of the story. The thesis of the story is about the three prisoners who were arrested and they are waiting for execution. Therefore, the story is about how they are behaving when they are in the cell as they wait for execution. When they are in the cell, they are powerless and they cannot do anything. It is due to this that alienation plays a big part in their behaviors because of the isolation and the power that they have been deprived. For example, alienation has shown how Tom, one of the prisoners, is weak and afraid of death when he urinates on himself and when asked he cannot feel anything. Hence, it has shown how Tom is behaving as he is waiting for execution (Sartre, 2011). Therefore, alienation has played a significant role in expressing the thesis of the story.
The theme of alienation has also shown us the transformation of the different characters in the story. Before the prisoners were arrested, they had their lives going on well. For example, Pablo had his good times in his life and he had a girlfriend (Sartre, 2011). This shows that Pablo lived his life very well and he did not have any problems. Soon after he was arrested and isolated, alienation took over because he did not have power to do anything. He has transformed from that person who had feelings and was able to love, to that person who is very angry and a loner because he dissociates himself completely from his fellow cellmates. Therefore, the theme of alienation has played a significant role because it has shown us how the different prisoners have transformed in the characters.
Lastly, the theme of alienation has shown us imagery as it has been used in the story. For example, the title “The Wall” is full of imagery because it shows that there is a dead end somewhere (Sartre, 2011). In this story, the wall acts as the only thing that separates the prisoners from their death or freedom. This wall has made them to feel alienated and start behaving the way they are behaving. Therefore, the theme of alienation has played a significant role in expressing the stylistic device of imagery in the story.
In conclusion, the theme of alienation plays a significant role in the story because it has been able to portray some of the characteristics of the different characters in the story. Additionally, it has expressed the thesis of the story very well making it easy for the readers. Lastly, it has been able to show how different people think as they are about to wait for their death. Thus, the theme has been a very important part of the story since the readers are able to understand the story easily.
Lipsky, Michael. Streel-level bureaucracy: dilemmas of the individual in public services. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2010. Print.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Wall. Book Rags. Inc.. May 20, 2005. Web. May 20, 2011.