Short summary - The Wall - Jean-Paul Sartre

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Wall
Jean-Paul Sartre

Micro-narration: The insurgent is sentenced to death, he prepares to die. During the last interrogation, he, without knowing it, gives out the location of one of his leaders and gets life at the cost of involuntary betrayal.

The story is told on behalf of the Spanish rebel Pablo Ibbiet.

A spacious white room with bright lights. In the center were subjects in civilian clothes, in the distance - prisoners. The escorts brought the prisoners to the tables, people in civilian clothes asked several questions, then wrote something.

Juan was not asked anything. He said that he was not guilty, but they made a decision, which he will learn in the cell. The cell was a hospital basement, where it was cold and eerie, but still better than the punishment cell in which Pablo Ibbieta spent five days. Here, at least, there was a company - Juan and Tom.

Tom and Pablo were sure that they had a cover, but they thought that Juan, who had nothing to do with it, would not be hurt. They talked about the fact that in another province, prisoners are simply crushed by trucks, they save cartridges.

There was a hole in the ceiling through which light entered, and under it was a pile of coal. Tom started to shake and he began to walk around the basement. At about eight, the commandant entered the cell with the guards. He said that everyone was sentenced to death and the sentence would be carried out in the morning. He also warned that a Belgian doctor would come to them. Juan was not spared either.

A bright frosty night fell. A doctor entered the cell with two guards and said that he was here to help. He began to feel for a pulse, and everyone soon realized that he was there to observe their behavior.

The doctor felt cold and looked at Pablo. And he was all in sweat, sweat flowing in a stream, his clothes were wet. Juan, with a gray face, wondered if it was painful to die, the doctor reassured him.

... I will see eight rifles pointed at me. I will want to retreat to the wall, I ... will try my best to squeeze into it, and it will push me away, like in some kind of nightmare.

Pablo began to recall scenes from the past. Then he sat down with Tom, and they began to discuss what awaits them in the morning. Tom vividly imagined all the details. A puddle appeared at his feet, but he felt nothing. The Belgian was writing something down.

Juan withdrew into himself, and when the doctor approached him, he even tried to bite his hand. Pablo lay down, and he dreamed of scenes of the execution. He jumped up and began walking around the cell, remembering the past.

The Belgian offered to convey to his relatives everything the prisoners wanted to say. But they had no one to send messages to. Pablo had a girlfriend, but now he did not want to see her, and so that she could see him in this position. The objects became blurred, the body shook with shudders and sweat, then Pablo was seized with indifference.

... you have lost hope for immortality, what difference does it make how long you have to wait - a few hours or several years.

The doctor looked at his watch and it made Juan hysterical. Footsteps were heard behind the wall. Distant shots rang out in the street - shootings began in the backyard. They entered their cell.

Tom went on his own, and Juan fell, so he had to be dragged. They promised to come for Pablo later. It was hard for him to endure loneliness. Soon they came for him and took him to a small room on the first floor. The officers again asked him where Ramon Gris was.

Pablo was funny and indifferent, but they tried to make him fear. He was threatened with execution if he did not confess. They gave me half an hour to think. Another half hour of loneliness and waiting. Pablo knew where Gris was, but he would never betray him. Half an hour later, he informed the officers that Gris was in the cemetery. He did this in order to make fun of them, to play them.

The officers went out and returned in half an hour. Pablo was ready to go to be shot, but he was taken to the main courtyard. There he met an acquaintance of the baker Garcia, who gave him the latest news.

Gris was hiding with his brother outside the city, but he quarreled with him and, in order not to expose anyone, went to the cemetery, where he hoped to hide. There the officers overtook him. In the shootout, he was killed. Everything floated before Pablo's eyes, but he collapsed to the ground and began to laugh uncontrollably.