Summary (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
The Wall Jumper is a narrative essay or a collection of short stories assembled by the narrator according to a variation of the Scheherazade principle of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. In The Wall Jumper, the narrator decides to collect and narrate stories about the divided city of Berlin,and whoever he meets is invited to tell him a new and better story. The work defies classification. It is not a novel, a novella, or a diary. It is perhaps best characterized as a narrative essay divided into five parts, mixing memoir with essay, anecdote with meditation, and narrative with political observation.
As part 1 begins, the narrator describes his approach by plane to Berlin. The plane, traveling from West Germany, must cross the city and the Berlin Wall three times in order to land against the wind at Tegel Airport in West Berlin. The narrator then describes the scene of his arrival at Schonefeld Airport in East Berlin to show the confusion of foreign tourists about the divided city. An Eastern European tourist cannot understand why he cannot share a taxi with the narrator to downtown Berlin: There are no taxis from Schonefeld Airport to West Berlin. The place the narrator calls home is not even shown on East Berlin city maps. The narrative then switches to a discussion of the Wall, built in August, 1961, by the East German government, and its depiction on city maps in East and West Berlin. The narrator moved to West Berlin...
(The entire section is 1257 words.)
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