The Wall Jumper Summary & Study Guide

Peter Schneider (writer)
This Study Guide consists of approximately 43 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Wall Jumper.
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The Wall Jumper Summary & Study Guide Description

The Wall Jumper Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider (writer).

The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider examines life in the two halves of Berlin during the era of the Wall, showing psychological differences more profound than the physical separation. The Narrator collects the stories of a number of wall jumpers.

The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider finds an anonymous Narrator, 20 years an inhabitant of the divided city of Berlin, collecting stories about those who have illegally gone over the wall. Seen from the air, Berlin appears one, and objects of everyday life on the ground seem identical, but the East has a characteristic smell and its population looks and acts gray. West Berliners look on them like caged zoo animals. The Narrator, a frustrated writer of fiction, collects stories about people who have jumped the wall in both directions. He goes back and forth, legally, through checkpoints, gathering material.

In West Berlin, the Narrator's friend, Robert, an exiled Eastern writer, tells him about Kabe, who jumps a record 15 times. That West and East Germany view the postwar division quite differently shows in how the people think and act. The Narrator visits his Eastern friend Pommerer, another writer, and learns of three Eastern youngsters who jump the Wall to enjoy Western movies. Easterners resent being judged for having resigned their lives to reality. The East is building while the West is renovating. Robert relates the tragic/comic story of Walter Bolle's frustrated vendetta against the DDR. The friends witness a staged protest and disagree over the political subjectivity of media coverage of current events. Like Robert, the Narrator's ex-lover, Lena, is to his mind a typical product of East German upbringing: neurotic and controlling because of her insecurities.

Back in East Berlin, Pommerer has gotten in trouble with the Writers' Union and may need to move West. The Narrator collects two more odd stories before visiting an aunt in rural Dresden. He contemplates how different his life might have been had he met Russians rather than Americans in 1945. Would he be recognizable as himself? Where does the State end and self begin?

The Cold War has heated up as the Soviets invade Afghanistan and the U.S. leads a boycott of the Olympics. East Germans debate their chances of bringing home gold medals. During his next entry to East Berlin the Narrator is arbitrarily refused. He realizes that the walls of Berlin will outlive everyone alive.

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