©Marva A. Barnett

Sample Student Recall Protocols with My Analysis
Sartre, "Le Mur," part 3 (end of story)

At the beginning of class, students were asked to take about five minutes to write in English everything they remembered from reading this last section of the story (without consulting the text). The five students are identified by letter. Factual corrections appear in boldface; my analyses appear in italics.


Pablo didn't understand why he was left. He seemed a little upset because he had been waiting to die and now they were making him live longer to ponder death some more. The soldiers took him to one of their superiors who kept asking him where to find Ramon Gris. He kept trying to intimidate Pablo and was very phony. Pablo said he didn't know where to find Ramon Gris. The fat, phony guy told him that he would let him live if he told them where to find Ramon. Then they sent him to his cell [the laundry] to think about it. He decided that, though he knew where Ramon was, he wasn't going to tell on him. He didn't even like Ramon anymore, but he felt he was ready for death-a "proper death." He decided to make up a story about where Ramon was. He told the soldiers he was in the cemetery (he was really supposed to be at his cousin's house hiding). The soldiers told him he would be sorry if he was lying. After the soldiers came back from searching for Ramon, they put Pablo in a giant camp with all kinds of prisoners (even women and children). They were fed at a dining hall in this prison. He didn't understand why they let him live. It turns out, as the baker told him, that Ramon had had a fight with his cousins. He really did go to hide out in the cemetery where the soldiers shot him as he resisted arrest. When Pablo heard this, he laughed out loud.

This recall offers a great many important and accurate details, along with some thoughtful comments, such as the note of Pablo's state of mind in the second sentence.


  • All the others are taken, except Pablo.
  • The description of the sky is very positive again at this point, probably either expressing Pablo's optimism or adumbrating his not having to die-or both.
  • The others are killed, but Pablo is not.
  • They ask Pablo to tell them where some guy they're after is, but Pablo refuses to tell. They put him in some room to be alone for 15 minutes to think about whether he should tell them or not. Pablo knows exactly where the guy is, but after15 min. are up he makes some story about where the guy is, leading the "bad guys" on a wild goose chase-so Pablo thinks. It turns out, however, that the guy they're looking for indeed is where Pablo told them he'd be, and they killed the guy. So Pablo's life is spared by chance.
  • I remember Pablo laughing to himself a lot and thinking that "the bad guys" were very funny-he found their methods and motivations humorous, and he analyzed them very precisely. He also thought the murder of the guy was funny.

This recall is accurate, with more focus on analysis of why things happened and what they mean than on what happened. The analysis is not very thorough, however; for instance, the final note that Pablo "thought the murder of the guy was funny" ignores the irony and tragedy of the situation, giving the impression instead that Pablo was amused.


Pablo is left alone in the basement. He thinks about the imminent death of Tom and Juan but essentially feels nothing. Eventually, someone comes to ask him questions about where his friend is located, telling him that his life can be saved if he gives up his friend. Pablo lies about where his friend is or actually makes up a random place in order to stall for time. Unfortunately for the friend it turns out he is actually there and they capture him and let Pablo go. However, his friend is condemned to die instead. [killed in a shoot-out at the cemetery.]

This recall includes more commentary than details about the action It is a general but mostly accurate summary.


Pablo thinks that they will take him too, to kill him. He knows that he lied to them about the whereabouts of his friend, so he thinks they found out that he lied. Really, though, what he told them (that his friend was hiding in the cemetery) turned out to be the truth. So, they got the information that they wanted to get from Pablo, although he doesn't think he gave them the correct information. When he realizes this, he realizes he got his friend killed, but he will be set free. This feeling of confusion is what we are left with at the end.

This recall focuses on the main point (the irony of the situation), but it generally ignores the details of the action.


One of the soldiers calls Tom, he doesn't answer. They call Juan and he's bawling and they have to carry him out. Tom goes. Pablo asks why he's not going too, they say wait. He gets taken before some interrogators to find out where Ramon Gris is. He won't tell them. They send him to a laundry room to wait some more. He thinks about why he's not telling them where Ramon is. He goes in front of the man again and decides to play a trick on them. He tells them Ramon is in the cemetery. He just wanted see them run and scramble around-he laughs just thinking about it. They come back and put him in with all the others-he won't be executed. He talks with someone else he knows who says Ramon was caught because he was stupid and hid in the cemetery. Pablo laughs.

This recall is an objective and accurate retelling that offers very little analysis.