What is Lionel Wallace's occupation? How old is he? Where does he live?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the short story "The Door in the Wall" by H.G. Wells, the narrator, Redmond, introduces the reader to Wallace, a career politician, who is soon to be named a Cabinet Minister. Most of the story takes place in London, West Kensington. The two boys attend Saint Athelstan's College, and later, Lionel Wallace goes off to Oxford. Wallace is haunted by a childhood vision of a door in the wall that leads to a magical garden inhabited by two spotted panthers, a young girl, playmates, and a woman dressed in purple.

Unfortunately for Wallace, he dies just prior to turning forty, at the age of thirty-nine. His lifeless body is discovered in a railway excavation where a door was mistakenly left unfastened. Wallace went through the doorway and fell to his death. The story ends with the narrator, Redmond, pondering whether or not Wallace escaped into a better world or merely fell, accidentally, to his death.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The protagonist of "The Door in the Wall," Lionel Wallace, is a politician. From what the narrator tells us, he must have had a particularly stellar career in politics as he was seriously spoken of as a potential member of the Cabinet. Wallace is presented as someone who's cut quite a dash in the world. He's one of life's winners, someone who always seems to succeed at whatever he turns his hand to. He is indeed a man of the world, an intelligent, rational man, which makes it all the more difficult to reconcile his worldliness with the fantastical story he tells the narrator about the secret door in the wall.

The narrator further informs us that Wallace was "still a year short of forty," or in other words, thirty-nine years old. He grew up in London—West Kensington, to be precise— which is where he first discovered the magic wall leading to an enchanted garden, and where he returns many years later.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial