What's the symbolism of "the wall," and why is it the title of the story?

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Lenny Wiza eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are several ways to think of the idea of "the wall" being symbolic in the story. From the first moments of his arrest, Pablo "stonewalls" his captors by refusing to give them the information they want about the whereabouts of Ramon Gris.

Furthermore, after Juan, Tom, and Pablo hear that they will be shot the next morning, executed with their backs against "the wall," Pablo begins to construct a figurative wall between himself and his cellmates. He considers, dispassionately, what it will look like when Tom receives his fatal wounds.

As the night progresses, Pablo begins to lose the connection between his body and his mind. It is as if a wall separates them, and he is quite surprised when he realizes that he is sweating...

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