Is the Ending of the Wall by Jean Paul Sartre Ironic? Essay

1175 Words Mar 23rd, 2008 5 Pages
In "The Wall," Jean-Paul Sartre uses many literary techniques to convey irony. Jean-Paul Sartre, an existentialistic writer, states through his characters and symbolism that life has no value. Through Pablo's decision to "trade' his life, Sartre furthers the irony in the story. Symbolism provides authors with a way to convey an underlying theme or to portray the meaning in an event without explicitly outlining the incident. Sartre employs the symbol of a graveyard to express meaninglessness and nothingness. Emotions can express more than a character's feeling at a particular moment, they can also set a tone for a whole story. The conclusion of laughter brings another example of irony through its contradictory nature to the tone at the end …show more content…
Mark A. Seaver asserted that "Kafka saw humor not only as a defense against the pain and anguish he felt inflicted upon him by the outside world, but also against the pain he rained upon himself." Sartre takes humor and uses it as Pablo's shield against the same things that Kafka sheltered himself from. Laughter is the final note in "The Wall." "Everything began to spin and I found myself sitting on the ground: I laughed so hard I cried." (244) John M. Willmann stipulated in the American Journal of Psychology that laughter occurs when "a total situation causes surprise, shock, or alarm, and at the same time induces an antagonistic attitude of playfulness or indifference." This laughter is paradoxical because it does not seem normal that one would laugh when they have unintentionally caused the death of another and saved themselves in the process. The laughter expressed at the end of the short story is that of hostile indifference: indifference to life. Pablo becomes determined to be unfeeling towards life because in his mind he has died already. He is angry at his body's betrayal of his will, its inability to obey and remain composed. He endured a horrific night of tormenting himself with the thought of death and

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