Whats the symbolism of "the wall" and why title the story this?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Wall" is a short story about a man awaiting execution at the hands of fascist leaders. Because he knows the time and place of his death, he slowly loses the will to live. His captors tell him that he can spare his own life by giving up his friend. He refuses at first, but eventually gives them what he thinks is false information, assuming he has nothing to lose. Ironically however, his friend is found exactly where he said he would be, having left his other location due to an argument. Thus, the main character's life is spared.

The title of this story refers to the wall used by firing squads to execute prisoners. This wall haunts the character throughout the story, reminding him of his impending mortality. The wall itself symbolizes the inevitability and unknowing of one's death. Essentially, everything behind the wall is unknown. Even though the main character thinks he knows what will happen, his story ends in an unexpected twist, at the expense of another's life.