The Wall Characters
Ramon Gris is an anarchist and colleague of Pablo’s. The Falangists attempt to get Pablo to tell them Ramon’s location. Pablo unwittingly tells the Falangists where Ramon is, allowing the Falangists to kill him.
Pablo is the narrator and protagonist of the story. He has been condemned to death for his anarchist activities on behalf of Spain’s Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. He deals with his impending death by detaching himself from life. He feels alienated from his own body, from the other condemned men who share his cell, and from his own past.
Pablo has the opportunity to save his own life when the officers ask him to give up the location of a fellow anarchist, Ramon Gris. Pablo chooses not to expose Pablo’s hiding place, but instead hopes to make fools of the officers by giving them a random location, thereby sending them on a wild goose chase. However, it turns out that Pablo’s ‘‘joke’’ causes Ramon’s death, for Ramon ends up at that location by chance. Thus, Pablo’s life is spared but he now bears the responsibility for a friend’s death.
Juan Mirbal is a young Spanish man whose brother is an important anarchist. Although Juan has committed no crime, he is sentenced to death. Juan protests that he has done nothing wrong. When he realizes his cause is hopeless, he is fearful of his impending execution. He cries when the men come to bring him to the courtyard.
Tom Steinbock is an Irishman fighting on behalf of the Republicans. A member of the International Brigades, he has killed at least six men. Like Pablo, Tom is alienated from his own body, even urinating on himself and not feeling it. However, he tries to converse with the other men and come to a common understanding or solace. Tom acknowledges that he will die in the morning, but he cannot truly understand it. By the time the morning of his execution arrives, Tom has accepted his own death.