Walls - Protecting, Dividing, Containing

Liam Grove

Looking out of a window, walking down the street, you see walls. Walls are everywhere. They surround us in our daily lives, protecting us, dividing us, containing us. When you think of a wall, you probably think of a great brick or concrete structure, cutting you off from something. But are all walls physical?There are many corporeal walls, such as the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the wall of your bedroom, your kitchen, but what of the walls of the mind? Walls between ideals, walls between people, walls between beliefs. Between the physical and mental walls, which are more difficult to demolish? World War II was one of the bloodiest periods in human history. It divided nations, destroyed cultures, and created walls. One such wall was the Berlin Wall. It divided the capital of Berlin into two halves, the socialist and democratic sides. It separated the two populations and restricted traffic to within the separate borders. During the time it was up, the two cultures changed drastically, with West Germany importing all the new produce and shipments, while East Germany stuck to the old-fashioned ideals and communist friendly products. When the wall was demolished in 1989, and the two cultures merged, the resulting social turbulence was very bad, what with the changes in currency, living conditions and provisions. Walls in relationships are much harder to heal than physical walls. In the movie “Goodbye Lenin”, the Kerner family has been split in two. There is a mental and social wall between the father and the mother. During their early years together, Mr. Kerner convinced his wife to flee across the border to West Germany. But When they attempted to flee, the mother lost confidence and stayed, leaving her husband trapped alone in West Germany. This wall was resolved soon before the mother’s death, when Mr. Kerner visited her in the hospital and they reacquainted themselves and resolved their issues. Sometimes there are walls between what people believe or think to be right. In the movie, their was one such wall, the wall between West and East German ideals and culture. This is mostly due to their different governmental states, one being democratic and one socialist. West Germany, the democratic side, embraced the European influence and change, importing many goods and evolving to be more like many other

European countries, what with their culture, way of life and ideals. East Germany, however, was a strictly socialist country, which meant that they stuck to Communist friendly traditions and products, which also drew them closer to the other communist countries, such as Russia, China, and several other more eastern cultures. East German culture was relatively unchanging, as they felt secure with their already developed society and did not want to inadvertently accept non-socialist friendly products and ideas into their culture. This wall was removed when the Berlin Wall was demolished, as the two societies merged and introduced each others ideas, traditions and culture to the other. Everywhere we walk, everywhere we look, whatever we think, whatever we do, there are walls. There will always be walls, but there will always be different walls, as new things happen and people develop, so do our walls. Physical walls are easier to forget about than mental and social walls, however that makes them no less potent. Walls between cultures separate us, walls in a prison contain us, walls of our house protect us. Walls are both good and bad, depending on how they are used and perceived. No matter what type, what they’re made of, who they were built by, walls are built in fear of something.

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