Discuss the themes addressed in Over the Wall and the devices used
to express and examine these themes
The play ‘Over the Wall’ is very interesting and unique, in that
instead of having names for each part, the parts are numbered from
1-9. This removes all pre-conceptions you may have had of the
characters. The characters keep changing to different numbers
throughout the play; this is to highlight the different types of
people in society. Any number can play and the narration may be shared
The play tells the story of an island community living on an island
with a wall running straight down the middle of it. These people like
to keep themselves to themselves and continue ...view middle of the document...
The narrator’s first speech ends with “for, while they were not
exactly happy they were not exactly unhappy either.” I think this
highlights the fact that people in society are happy with their daily
life being very mediocre. We put up with this because we are afraid of
change. We sit on the same seat on the bus every day; we have the same
routine when we get back from work. There are so many examples of
these day to day rituals because we are unimaginative.
The characters in the play are stereotyped defined by their language.
Firstly we have the conservative view, “if it was good enough for my
father it’s good enough for me.” People become trapped in a way of
thinking and therefore are frightened of change. There are always
people who just agree with what someone says, apart from when what
they say is a totally new and abstract idea. This is because people
are intolerant to difference, if we see something different we will
either laugh or stay well clear of it.
Then there is the feminist who is totally stuck in her ways. She talks
about the women’s vote and after the religious man had said “someone’s
in charge up there…leave it to him”, she added the totally pointless
comment “or her”. It’s like she’s still trying to get her feminist
point across even after they had been given equal rights to men.
The author adds a nice little touch of comedy into the play with the
typical ‘locals’ and their Scottish accents. Then comes a couple of
totally far-fetched explanations for the construction of the wall.
Such language like “There is no doubt that it was constructed in the
Neo-plasticene Age by primitive tree-worshippers” satirises how when
someone says something confidently and using difficult language we are
quick to believe them. Like all of the scientists in the television
adverts with their white coats, we don’t understand all the graphs and
proof that the product works, we just take their word for it. However
this nonsense vocabulary exposes this so called expert for what he
really is. It is strange after this as there is a totally logical
explanation but it is immediately dismissed because of the extra
‘enom’ added to phenomenom. This was totally unnecessary and the
mispronunciation highlights his ignorance.
We have the ‘philosopher’s’ view also, which is equally satirical. He
says, “ it’s a figment of our imagination, the wall only exists in our
minds.” After several of these mind-boggling ideas the narrator takes
the ‘ordinary person’s’ response, one of confusion but yet
understanding. He ties himself in knots with sentences like “he took a
flying leap at where it was, or wasn’t, and dashed his brains out. Or
so it seemed.” When we hear these peoples views...