(Short Stories for Students)

Redmond, the narrator of "The Door in the Wall," meets his old friend Wallace for a dinner one night. Wallace tells Redmond the story of the door in the wall. At first. Redmond does not know if he should or should not believe his friend's wild tale: "But whether he himself saw, or only thought he saw, whether he himself was the possessor of an inestimable privilege, or the victim of a fantastic dream, I cannot pretend to guess." This unwillingness to judge his friend displays his sense of sympathy. Redmond represents the voice of reason, making Wallace's story more believable because it is told by what readers assume is a reliable narrator. Furthermore, because Redmond is relating the tale, readers also learn of Wallace's strange death, which seems to verify the tale Wallace tells him at dinner. Redmond's account of the story also lends it a tragic tone because it is related after Wallace's death—a feat not possible if Wallace himself was the narrator.

Lionel Wallace
Politician Lionel Wallace is the protagonist of "The Door in the Wall." As a child living in a joyless home, he discovers a door to a visionary garden of happiness. His cautious nature is shown by his trepidation upon encountering the door, because he knows his father will be angry if he opens it. A child of a strict, Victorian upbringing, Wallace has been conditioned to deny his imagination and put all his effort into becoming successful. Nevertheless, the...

(The entire section is 410 words.)