The Wall Essay, Research Paper
A Brick in the Wall (The story of Sid Barrett and Roger waters life)
The Wall, is a story about a boy who grows up to be a deeply troubled man named Pink Floyd. After having lost his father in World War II, he is raised by an overprotective mother. Pink goes into a depressing life and he finally turns to drugs. Because of the drugs and his horrible memories, he goes into a state of insanity. Every thing that happens to him is just a pice in the wall that he has built around himself, blocking out the trouble and confusion, and leading him to a greater level of craziness. I think that the life of Pink was based on two of the band members from Pink Floyd. It is the growing up of Roger Waters and Syd Barrets life as an adut. Many songs on the album, as well as real life, refers to information in the understanding of Pink Floyd in The Wall.
The character Pink, in The Wall, led a bad childhood. He grew up with no father and an overprotective mother, which in would affect him when he is growing up. Pink’s younger days were based on Roger Waters, the bassist for the band Pink Floyd. In the book the boy loses his father in World War II, and is raised by his mother. Roger Waters’ father dies in the Second World War and is in turn raised and pampered by his mother. From the lack of knowledge of the band, people fail to see this. The adult life of the character Pink is also believed to be based on the adulthood of the Original lead singer for Pink Floyd Syd Barret. Barrett like the character in The Wall, turned to drugs, and “in late 196. Barrett went through a madness which he never recovered from”. The smartest person in the world behind basing Pink’s life on real people adds to the actuality of the character, creating a more realistic story.
The main cause for insanity this man goes through in the book is memories that he has built up inside him. The episode that started his mental breakdown was the death of his father. The song Another brick in the wall part 1, displays this.
“Daddy’s gone across the ocean,
Leaving just a memory,
A snapshot in the family album.
Daddy, what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, whatcha leave behind for me?
All in all it was just a brick in the wall.
All in all it was just the bricks in the wall” (Pink Floyd, The Wall).
This song tells the story of his father going to the war, and leaving Pink only a memory of him. All he has to remember his father by is a picture and a dark memory. His death forces Pink to see reality, which he does not like, because he fears it. He forms a wall to protect himself from being hurt again. During this song “the theme of remembrance is re-stated by Pink mourning the loss of his father” (The Wall: A Brief Explanation, 1). In the scene on the playground Pink watches all the other children playing with their fathers and sees he does not have one. He then walks up to another father at a merry-go-round and asks the man to put him on it. Pink is overjoyed that he has found a father figure, but this joy does not last because the man takes his children and walks off. Pink follows and tries to hold the man’s hand but he only shoos him off, and asks where his father is. Feeling rejected Pink wanders off and watches the other fathers pushing their kids on the swings. Pink gets up onto one and attempts to start swinging. This is the first time Pink actually comes to the realization that he has no father, and it is the first piece of the wall.
His mother inserts the second piece of the wall. An overprotective women with the thought of her husbands death still looming in her mind, and does not want anything to happen to her son. The song “Mother” tells about her and “the greyness and material depravations of post-war life” (The Wall: A Brief Explanation, 1). It demonstrates how she became a brick in the wall that is over powering her son.
“Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Mother should I build the wall?
Mother should I run for president?
Mother should I trust the government?
Mother will they put me in the firing line?
Ooooo Is it just a waste of time?
Ooooo Mother am I really dying?)
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry.
Mother’s gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mother’s gonna put all her fears into you.
Mother’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
Of course mama’s gonna help build the wall
Mother do you think she’s good enough — for me?
Mother do you think she’s dangerous — to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart?
Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry.
Mama’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama won’t let anyone dirty get through.
Mama’s gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you’ve been.
Mama’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh baby oooh baby oooh baby,
You’ll always be baby to me.
Mother, did it need to be so high” (Pink Floyd, The Wall).
Pink expresses his concerns to his mother in this song. In the first lyric, he asks her about the war and if she thinks that society and his peers will like his song. He concludes it with the question of whether he should build a wall, which She answers later in the song. In the next lyric, he asks her if he should try to reach his dreams or if everyone will take him down. He then wonders if life itself is just a waste of time.
When young Pink says, “mother am I really dying”, it refers to an illness that proved near fatal when he was a child (Pink Floyd, The Wall). This adds to his mothers over-protectiveness with the fear that she might lose Pink as she did her husband. It also adds to the wall around her son. The third lyric, she starts to answer Pink’s question of whether he should build a wall or not. His mother unknowingly forces her beliefs onto him, while thinking that she is protecting him from the world. She helps him build the wall by keeping him as far away from reality as she can. The last lyrics we see in the song refers once again to the over-protectiveness of his mother and how she kept him separated from the rest of the world. She always did everything for him and did not let anything happen to him. The last question he asks of his mother is “mother did it need to be so high” (Pink Floyd, The Wall)? It, meaning the wall and all his pent-up emotions. Pink wonders why there is so much in his life that made the wall so high.
The school days of an English person are said to be “‘the happiest days of a man’s life’”
(The Wall: A Brief Explanation, 1). Pink’s school days were very unhappy. His unhappiness with school is shown in numerous parts of the book. When Pink and his friends are playing in the train tunnel, something he saw triggered a memory. He was trying to get a bullet to stay on the track so the train would run it over. He gets it on just in time and jumps out of the way. The train runs over the bullet and it immediately explodes. At that point, young Pink is stuck in the tunnel as the train goes by. He looks at the train and sees the hands of children reaching out to him as if they wanted to be set free. This shows that teachers were very strict and the children wanted to be free from them. Another event in the book that reminds Pink of something in his
past is the fans pounding on the doors to get into one of his concerts. The doors are moving in and out, making him think of when the kids did try to break free from the teachers at school. Pink’s experience with school was another one of the bricks in his emotionally constructed wall.
Another aspect of Pink’s life that contributed to the wall was his relationship with his wife. The end of the song mother helps the viewers understand this.
“Mother do you think she’s good enough — for me?
Mother do you think she’s dangerous — to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart
Pink consults in his mother as to whether she is good enough for him, or if she is dangerous. He wants to know if she will end up becoming another horrible memory or not. When it plays this part of the song in the book, his wife is shown having sex with another man. Pink calls her house and the man she is with answers the telephone. It then hits Pink that every time he finds something good it ends up hurting him. There is an animated part in the wall, which shows two plants. The plants represent a male and a female. The female plant wraps around the male and than turns into an evil creature. This shows Syd Barretts look on women from the experience that he had. He believes that they just swallow men up and at any point in time, they can just go do the same thing to another man, leaving the other behind. This is the answer to his question. Pink has had too many shows, too much dope and too much applause, and sits locked in his hotel room slowly going mad”
Pink Floyd’s The Wall is not an easily perceived book. Many people do not find meaning behind the main character and his depleted mental condition. By understanding the music as well as the history of the band members, people are able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The depression of pink is brought by some of the things that he loved the most in the world. Everything in his life is just another brick in the wall.