“The Wall” is a breathtaking short story written by Marlis Wessel, a former Canadian teacher, who has also written short stories, children’s plays and monologues for theatre. Ms. Wessel’s’ short story is a remarkable journey to Germany of a young couple in the late 80’s, where they learn the significance of the country’s history and present existence. The story is written in third person perspective with fulfilling and symbolical details within the characters’ every move and speech.
The wall is the main principal of the story, it represents a physical barrier between Germany’s east and west, the east being the communism area, under the influence of the Soviet Union, and the west- a capitalistic region. However, it has a much more broad significance throughout the story, as it connects with the characters. The reader can easily distinguish the intangible “wall” between Hans and his wife Barbara, in the concluding paragraph, “His voice was harsh and resentful. Against her, Barbara realized, not his grandmother” (Wessel, 156).
Furthermore, there are several artistic and philosophical symbols which contribute to the story. In the first paragraph, Barbara felt glamorous and European so she decided to buy boots, shortly after, the stepped in mush which was “oozing out from under the heel of her book” (Wessel, 151). ‘Mush’ is mentioned numerous times as something squidgy and unpleasant, which looks appeasing at first. Which takes us back to the ‘wall’- it has a decent exterior, though a repulsive authentic meaning.
Moreover, the grandmother of Hans is a figure of a tangible symbol in the story. The author did not give her a name to specify that she is a grandmother, an 80-year-old neat as a new pin woman. She is described as a clean, tidy individual without a single wrinkle on her skin. Nevertheless, the grandmother too, can indirectly be portrayed to the wall as a spotless person with a hideous personality. She is the only character in the story who can openly talk about the wall, in addition to the “Russians” and the “Jews” referring to them as “pigs”. The rest of the...