Explain the ending of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (Entire thread is a spoiler of course)

In Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, after the trial, Pink was “exposed before his peers”, and the wall was torn down. So what exactly happened to the character? Have his mental problems have been cured?

Wow, this is weird. I just opened Cafe Society to start a thread about one of the songs on the Wall!

Now this thread isn’t close enough to talk about it here but it would be weird to have two floyd threads on the front page.

Disclaimer: I have never seen the movie made from the album, but I have owned the album since it was first released.

I thought it was totally clear. The central character allowed others to see him as he really was, not the protective “wall” that he had learned to build around himself. Because others accepted him for himself, he had no further need for his wall.

Here’s one explanation: http://home.mchsi.com/~ttint/outsidethewall.html

Though the movie begins with war, turmoil, and the creation of one man’s wall, it ends with peace, the destruction of that very same wall, and the hope that the follies of the past will corrected for the progress of generations to come]/quote]
There’s a lot more deconstruction of the ending at the link above.

I always understood it to mean that the wall he had built to protect himself from the world was torn down, leaving him defenseless. Basically, it’s a song about a person going mad.

One of the kind of guys who’s one of the “bleeding hearts and artists” loses his dad young and is overprotected by his mama who puts all her fears into him and brings him up in such a way that “nobody dirty will get through”; gets tormented by sadistic schoolteachers in school who take it all out on the kids when in fact they themselves are getting thrashed at home by their perfect wives, and grows older against the backdrop of the threat of war and violence; at the appropriate age of young lust he decides he needs a dirty gal to make him feel like a real man, but when he has her over he’s reserved and uptight while she’s gushing and oohing and trying to make it easy for him (want some? huh?) and when they try to make a go of it they have these communication problems, seldom talking and then exploding into temper. Decides he doesn’t need anyone at all, no arms around me, etc. Then makes a suicide attempt.


Lonely, wondering if there’s anyone else like him out there. Living a life that feels hollow and meaningless. Remembers moments, fragments maybe when it seemed that life could be different, not like this. A fleeting glimpse out of the corner of his eye, but now the child is grown, the dream is gone. Sorry, time to get confronted with the things he’s been afraid of considering. Gonna find out: are there any queers in here? Up against the wall! There’s one, he don’t look right to me. OK, well if not queer then maybe something else wrong here that explains it…better run, 'cuz they’re out to get you, they know something’s wrong and different with you, boy. Living in fear of being hunted, chased down. OK, time to do the confronting, is there something wrong with him? Have I been guilty all this time?

A trial, presided over by an angry blame-casting…umm, asshole, literally, a pair of glaring buttocks staring back and saying it’s his fault, it’s his doing, it’s because the schoolmaster wasn’t able flail him into shape, the bleeding hearts and artists let him get away with being the way he is. The mom who tried to hold him safe from harm and keep him out of trouble, to no avail. Yes, obviously all his fault and now he is exposed before they eyes of everyone, to see how he is, to see how wrong and different he is. Tear down the wall!

Denoument, after the wall comes down? Discovering others who’ve been there, fighting to tear down this “mad bugger’s wall”, some all alone, some gathered together in bands, the bleeding hearts and artists make their stand.

…implied circularity of the story. Pink isolates himself behind a wall, but then the wall is torn down. So Pink isolates himself behind a wall,…

So keep in mind the …

I think the circularity of it is that, having confronted this stuff (town down his own wall), he, by virtue of the fact that he has an audience of the kind of folks who enjoy that warmth & confusion and space cadet glow, an audience probably inclusive of some bleeding heart & artist types, has the opportunity of confronting us, the audience, and prompting us to tear down our own wall.

It’s not about being a rock star, as so many people seem to think. It’s about a sensitive guy growing up and feeling isolated and different who just happens to be a rock star, and probably being a rock star is itself another brick in the wall but if so just another one among many.

It is, however, about you being in the audience. Came to hear the show, maybe dig on some of those transcendental mellow tunes like “Echoes”, and instead, after an early warning/hint about something eluding you, Sunshine, puts forth a show that includes quite a few assaults, lots of angry hostile non-mellow yelling, along with screaming war-plane dives and explicit lyrics about the kinds of things that might’ve been shocking and unsettling when they happened to you, from teachers that would hurt the children any way they could on out to adulthood stuff. Wall-building experiences. Then puts you, there, in the audience, on trial for being caught red-handed for having feelings. Gonna find out where you fans really stand. Feeling unsettled by this point in the show, lots of this stuff hitting very close to home? There’s one in the spotlight, right there in front of all his friends, he don’t look right to me. I sentence you to be exposed before your peer’s eyes. But don’t worry, it’s gonna be OK. The ones who really love you thought you ought to know.

I think what happened is he had a nervous breakdown. His wall was what kept him from that breakdown all the time before. Finally it is too much even for his wall to protect him from. He must confront all the madness in his life and bring down the wall.

Also keep in mind the movie and songs reflect the life of (mostly) Waters, but he also considers his one-time band member, Sid Barrett, whose life and insanity Waters never comes to terms with (the band couldn’t deal with him and kicked him out) throughout Waters’ life is tortured by. A lot of Floyd songs reflect this.

The end of the movie makes me cry for the very last scene where we see all the children gathering parts for their own wall.

Spoiler ahead . Since essentially everything has already been mentionned, I don’t make a spoiler box :

I always understood it in a similar way. The wall is at the same time what keeps him apart from society and limit his freedom, but also what protects him and keeps him sane. It’s at the same time the social construct he hates and the mental construct he has created to cope with society.

Torning the wall apart means destroying all the oppressive rules, norms, assumptions denounced in the movie, granting him the ultimate freedom. And destroying in the process the fundations on which his personnality has been build, driving him to madness.

As mentionned in another lyric, he’s been shaped to be “just a brick in the wall” he denounces. When the wall collapses, he collapses too.
That’s how I interpret it. Even if I’m mistaken in the details, anyway, it’s blatantly obvious that torning down the wall symbolizes him going crazy, at the very least.

Rather the contrary.

I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but that wasn’t how I interpreted the final scene. I remember the boy who picks up the molotov cocktail, sniffs it, makes a face, and dumps out the fuel—an innocent young person rejecting the violence and madness churned up by Pink’s alienation.

I think you’re wrong. It’s the Wall itself that is his insanity, or at least a layer of it. Tearing it down is painful, but it’s a necessary step towards recovery.

Waters was inspired to write The Wall after an incident where he spat on a fan trying to reach the stage during a gig on the Animals tour, and he realised that his connection with the audience was completely gone, crushed beneath a weight of corporate greed and ego; he had no feelings for them any more. That’s what Pink’s wall is for: to hide away all feelings because he’s an essentially weak person, a coddled momma’s boy who doesn’t have the courage to deal with other people on an emotional level.

Perhaps Pink is molting?