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Pink Floyd's The Wall: A Complete Analysis

Pink Floyd's the Wall is perhaps one of the most intriguing and imaginative albums in the history of music. Recorded in 1979 and made into a film in 1982, The Wall tells the story of a man named Pink Floyd who, as a child, lost his father in World War II. Being raised by an overprotective mother, Pink leads a dreary life, finally turning to drugs. As a result of the drugs and his gloomy memories, Pink spirals into a void of insanity. This monumental album is loosely based on the lives of two members of Pink Floyd. Pink's childhood is very similar to that of Roger Waters, the main writer of the Wall. Waters, who lost his father in World War II, drew on his many emotions of abandonment and loneliness for this album. Pink's adult life is loosely based on that of the original lead singer Syd Barret. After suffering a mental breakdown due to mind altering drugs, Barret was replaced soon after by David Gilmour. By combining these life stories, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright create a mystical and disturbing adventure into the depths of man's psyche.

Table Of Contents
When the Tigers Broke Free, part 1
In the Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick In the Wall, part 1
When the Tigers Broke Free, part 2
Goodbye Blue Sky
The Happiest Days of Our Lives

Another Brick In the Wall, part 2
What Shall We Do Now?
Empty Spaces
Young Lust
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick In the Wall, part 3
Goodbye Cruel World
Hey You
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
The Show Must Go On
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
Waiting For the Worms
The Trial
Outside the Wall

The opinions and views expressed on this page are strictly my own. Therefore, don't get bent out of shape if I said something that you don't agree with. Just e-mail me (Bret) at the address listed at the bottom of the page.

Now, I am pleased to bring you my interpretation of "The Wall".

Pink Floyd: The Wall

When the Tigers Broke Free, part 1

It was just before dawn one miserable
Morning in black 'forty four.
When the forward commander was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks as the other ranks
Held back the enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.


It's extremely disappointing that Pink Floyd left this heart wrenching song off of the album but thankfully, they included it in the movie. "When the Tigers Broke Free" is set in World War II. It tells of a bridgehead established by the British soldiers in Anzio, Italy. The tigers referred to in this song are the German tanks storming Anzio, and the "few hundred ordinary lives", as the second part of the song will tell, are the men of Pink's father's rank. In the movie, we are first shown the hotel Pink is staying at, then a quick scene change to a man lighting a lantern, smoking a cigarette, and cleaning out his gun. As will later be shown, this man turns out to be Pink's father preparing for war with the Germans.

On another note, the song playing at the beginning of the movie, before "When The Tigers Broke Free" begins, is a song by Vera Lynn called "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot." The lyrics are as follows: "Christmas comes but once a year for every girl and boy/ The laughter and the joy/ They find in each new toy./ I tell you of the little boy who lives across the way/ This fella's Christmas is just another day..." At this point, the vacuum cleaner starts up and "When The Tigers Broke Free" begins. When the song ends and there is a close up of the Mickey Mouse watch, Vera's song starts again: "He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot/ And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot./ He sent a note to Santa, what he wanted was a drum/ This broken little heart when he woke and he hadn't come/ In the streets, yes he..." At this point, the vacuum once again drowns out the music. Sound similar to Pink? Both Pink and the little boy in Vera's song have been fed untruths (I hesitate to call them full lies) and in turn crash into reality when they see this ideal that they've been taught is false (see "Comfortably Numb"). Many thanks to Bradley Stapleton for this information. For more information about Vera Lynn, scroll down to the analysis of the song "Vera". In the Flesh?

So ya, thought ya
Might like to go to the show.
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
That space cadet glow.
Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
Is this not what you expected to see?
If you wanna find out what's behind these cold eyes
You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise.
Roll the sound effects.
Drop it on 'em!!!

"In the Flesh?" serves two different purposes at this point in the album. First, it shows Pink's conception and second, it sets the stage for the rest of the story, showing the present state of Pink and offering a sort of chiaroscuro between the "fascist" Pink and "little boy" Pink. The conception isn't really clear on the album, but after watching the movie, I am convinced that this is the first meaning of the song. In the movie, as the maid knocks on the door, there are quick shots to a crowd of people trying to push through a set of double doors locked with chains. As the song builds, the chains break and thousands of young people rush out. This is similar to the conception process if you look at the young boys and girls representing sperm. Also in the movie, as the teenagers riot, the police try to hold back as many as they can, thus representing the body's defenses. The title itself suggests conception as well. The question mark at the end proposes that a physical body has not yet developed, therefore suggesting that this song takes place during conception and during the growth of the fetus. The lyrics themselves seem to have been written as instructions for a young child. The child wanted to join the show, a symbol of life, to feel warmth and love experienced during life. But the speaker rhetorically asks "Is this not what you expected to see?" or is Life not all the joy and happiness that you thought it would be? The answer he expects is no. And if you care to find out what life is, what people are, what surrounds you, one must be willing to claw through the disguises built up all around us.

The second purpose of this song is to serve as foreshadowing for what Pink will become when subjected to, as the cliché says, sex, drugs, and rock & roll. In the movie, there is a scene at Pink's concert in which he is instructing his crowd on life and the masks we put up to shield ourselves from the world. He invites everyone to try to find out what's behind his "cold eyes"...and what's behind them will provide for an entertaining show. What lies behind his mask are years of pain, torture, and abandonment.
At the end of this song, the sound of planes and a voice screaming "DROP IT ON 'EM!" is almost deafening. The plane heard is the very one that drops the bomb on Anzio, killing Pink's father. We can also hear Pink screaming for the lights, sound effects, and action, suggesting that he is giving cues at his concert. Not only this, but it suggests that Pink is about to be born, as if the director of a movie is trying to get everything in order right before the movie/life begins. This interpretation of life being like a movie or concert reminds me of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in which Macbeth compares living to being an actor in a play. "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more: it is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing." (Act 5, scene 5)
Another interpretation of this song is that it takes place at the end of the story. "In The Flesh?" is about Pink looking backward and commenting about his life, and life in general. (Thanks to Raven for this interpretation.) This song sets the story "in media res" which is a characteristic of most epic stories (such as the Odessey, Virgil's Aeneid, etc.), all which begin in the middle of the story so as to parallel the younger character with the character in the middle of his journeys and finally with the character once he's completed his mission.

For those of you who have really good ears, you will notice at the beginning of this song, before the thumping guitars, organ, drums and bass come in, there is a little cut of dialogue. What is said here is "...we came in?" Now, if you will listen to "Outside The Wall" you will notice that right before the music ends on "Outside The Wall", there is another little piece of dialogue which says "Isn't this where..." Put the two together and you have "Isn't this where we came in?" Why, you may be asking yourself, is the dialogue out of order? It's not, according to Waters' view of cycles. The story of the Wall does not just apply to one generation, the children of World War II, but rather to everyone. At the end of the movie, the children are gathering bricks, perhaps to use in their own wall. This in conjunction with the little sound bits, shows that Pink isn't the first nor the last to build up a wall. It happened to people before him and it's happening to the next generation. The cycle will always continue.

The Thin Ice

Momma loves her baby, and daddy loves you too.
And the sea may look warm to you babe
And the sky may look blue
But ooooh babe
Ooooh baby blue
Oooooh babe.
If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear-stained eyes
Don't be surprised when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet.
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice. Ooooooh, Babe.

This song begins with the sound of a baby crying, presumably Pink, and in the movie, the images of his father's hand slipping from the phone in a bunker where he was requesting help. Other images of war haunt this song, perhaps suggesting that the innocence of childhood is quickly lost in this "modern life". This is the first time in which we find the symbol blue. Blue is a pure, cool color which is often used to symbolize innocence as well as depression. It is interesting how Pink is called "Baby Blue" by his mother. This represents the baby's innocence while also foreshadowing the depression and gloom that will later evolve into Pink's life. Just as soon as the smooth, entreating voice of hope and dreams finishes, the harsh voice of reality speaks up comparing life to thin ice. It warns that should Pink want to continue living, to "go skating on the thin ice of modern life", then he should not be surprised when a "crack in the ice", the hardships of life, gapes below his feet, swallowing his life and his sanity as he goes down struggling.
Another Brick in the Wall, part 1

Daddy's flown across the ocean
Leaving just a memory
A snapshot in the family album
Daddy what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, what d'ya leave behind for me?
All in all it was just a brick in the wall.
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.

"Another Brick In The Wall (Part I)" is the first song to introduce the metaphor of the wall. The wall represents the mental wall people build in order to block out the disorder and confusion of the world. It acts as a boundary so that no one can get too close because when one is left open with no wall to protect them, they are extremely vulnerable. In the first dismal part of the "Brick In The Wall" trilogy, the child Pink is recalling that his daddy has left, flying "across the ocean" to war. All his daddy has left are memories, such as the pictures in the photo album. In this song, Pink first shows all the bitterness he feels toward his father for leaving for war, leaving nothing but a memory. "Daddy, what d'ya leave behind for me?" His dad's death forces him to see stark reality, which Pink does not like. Because he fears what he sees, Pink begins forming a wall to guard himself from being hurt again. This part in the movie is arguably one of the saddest. During this time, Pink is accompanied with his mother to the playground where his mother leaves him to play. The observant Pink watches all the other little children playing with their fathers and realizes he has no father to spend time with. Pink then walks up to another father at a merry-go-round and asks for the man to put him on the rotating ride. When the man does, the joy in Pink's face can clearly be seen; he has found a father figure. But this joy doesn't last because the man takes his children off the merry-go-round and walks away, leaving Pink on it. Pink follows and tries to hold the man's hand but the man only shoos him off, asking him where his father is. Despondent Pink wanders to the swings and sees all the other fathers pushing their kids on the swings. He struggles up onto one of the sets and, grasping the chains, wobbles back and forth in an attempt to move his swing. This part in the movie is one of the first times we see Pink as a kid (10 or so?) and it is the first time Pink actually comes to the realization that he has no father, an epiphany which leaves him empty, no doubt.
When the Tigers Broke Free, part 2

And kind old King George sent Mother a note
When he heard that Father was gone.
It was, I recall, in the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf and all.
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed with his own rubber stamp.
It was dark all around, there was frost in the ground
When the Tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead, the rest of them dying.
And that's how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.

This is the second part to the opening song of the movie. In this part, Pink finds a letter in a drawer full of memorabilia. The letter, which was sent by the King to his mother, tells of the death of Pink's father. Pink learns that the Royal Fusiliers Company C, of which his father belonged (also the company Waters' father belonged to in real life), was practically destroyed on a winter day when, basically, all hell broke loose. In this song, just by the way Waters sings the last two verses, there is a lot of bitterness toward the government for taking his father away. In the movie, as the song plays, Pink dresses in his father's war outfit and, as he looks in the mirror, there are quick (and eerie) cuts from young Pink in the uniform to his father in the same apparel. This represents how the young take the place of the preceding generation, taking on all matters from that generation, including war. It also shows the father/son connection, something that will play heavily into effect later in the album/movie. Pink's mother, having lost a husband, transfers her emptiness onto her son, protecting him from everything that she deems unfit. In a non-sexual way, Pink becomes his father, acting as his mother's only means of support (mentally).
Goodbye Blue Sky

Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we
Had to run for shelter when the
Promise of a brave, new world
Unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on.
Goodbye, blue sky
Goodbye, blue sky.
Goodbye. Goodbye.

On the album, this song appears three songs later, after "Mother", but in the movie it is placed here. I put it here because I like its position after "When Tigers Broke Free (Part II)" because it continues the theme of pain and desolation caused by war started in "Tigers". This song expresses the concerns induced by war, such as the apprehension of bombs and the reason why one should run for shelter in a "brave, new world". The lyric that sums this song up is: "The flames are all long gone but the pain lingers on." Though the war may be over, painful memories and scars still exist because of it, such as Pink's depression over his lost father. In the song, we again presented with the symbol of blue. The "blue sky" represents innocence, thus by saying "Goodbye Blue Sky" Pink is bidding farewell to his own innocence while the world itself utters goodbye to its innocence after being raped by war. During this song in the movie, an animated dove flies through the sky only to be ripped apart by a nazi war bird (found on a nazi flag), showing the innocence lost by war. The war bird flies over the land spreading its filth, causing the ghosts of the battle field to rise in unrest. The best part of this animation short is when the stripes of the British flag fall away to show a cross and the blood of Christ streaming over the ground. This suggests redemption in order to restore purity. However, the blood drains into the sewer, one interpretation suggests that despite the virtuous cause behind the war, it was simply an incredible waste of life. Redemption is being wasted on those who don't want it. At the end of the song, we see the dove fly off. Though something as evil and severe as war (especially the Nazi rule in World War II) can rule the land for a time, innocence and purity will prevail.
In an interview, Roger Waters said that "Goodbye Blue Sky" is a song about Pink "leaving home to go out on his own." In other words, Pink is saying goodbye to the blue innocence of childhood and protection from his mother and is stepping foot into a sinful world. (Thanks again, Raven.)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives

When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children in any way they could
By pouring their derision upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town, it was well known
When they got home at night, their fat and
Psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives.

A truly acrimonious song, "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives" along with "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" chronicle Pink's school boy days in jolly ole' England. In the scene right before the song begins, Pink and his friends are laying bullets on a rail road. As the train passes by, Pink is caught in the tunnel and watches as car after car pass by, filled with faceless people, all desperately staring out at him. I think this is only a hallucination of Pink's, yet it is important nonetheless. First, it continues with the war theme, drawing parallels between the faceless children in the train car with the "faceless" Jews transported in mass to concentration camps in Germany during World War II. Second, it parallels the children of the school (faceless in "Another Brick In The Wall pt 2") with the persecuted Jews. The children of the English school did not put up with even a fraction of the harsh treatment that the Jews went through, but in Pink's mind, both represent repression of individuality. In the song, Pink tells of the oppressive teachers in the system who would "hurt the children any way they could" by exposing the child's weaknesses and ridiculing him/her for them. But, as Pink states, it was well known that when the teachers got home at night, their wives would punish them as equally as the teacher's punished the students. In the movie, Pink's teacher stumbles onto Pink writing poems during a lesson, (and for those of you who don't know, the poem is a lyric from the Pink Floyd song "Money"). For writing these, also for trying to be an individual by expressing himself, Pink is taunted in front of the class and given a stinging slap on the wrist. The scene following is hilarious to me. It shows the same teacher at home eating dinner with his wife. The teacher apparently bites something hard in the meat he is eating and takes it out of his mouth. His wife notices this, (note: she is not fat but her attitude certainly is large) and just by pointing at the discarded bit, the teacher immediately chokes down the hard scrap of meat. I have one word for that teacher: whipped. I think the editing in that scene is wonderful, cutting from the teacher spanking a kid back to the teacher choking down his dinner back to the teacher spanking...It all goes to show you that what you dish out eventually gets back to you. It also reinforces Waters belief in cycles.
Another Brick in the Wall, part 2

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.
We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

The second and most famous of the "Brick In The Wall" trilogy, Part II continues describing Pink's school boy days in England, picking up the story where "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives" leaves off. Contrary to belief, this song is NOT about the abolishment of education or anything else through anarchy. It is about individuality. When the children sing "We don't need no education" (aside from being a double negative actually meaning "We need education") they are not talking about education as a whole, but the kind of education they have been given thus far in their lives. They don't need the teachers to tell them what to think, no thought control; they don't need to be ridiculed for mistakes, "No dark sarcasm in the classroom". The basic idea is that teachers should teach but not conform. This can best be seen in the movie, as all the kids march down the hall wearing similar masks, walking to the same beat. Basically, the kids have no individuality...they walk without looking and fall into misfortune, the meat grinder at the end of the walk way. During the movie, there is a revolution against the conforming teachers, NOT against school or education. Because of the teachers, Pink puts another brick in his wall. Brad Kaye wrote me the following: "When the school children are all chanting 'We don't need no education' together in unison, this act, in a way, is MORE conforming than the education they have grown to hate. If you think about it, Roger Waters was saying that even in a revolt against conformity there will still be the presence of conformists, or uniformed followers. The use of the helpless school children is magnificent and proves my point even more. These kids do what they are told! I mean, I read somewhere that Roger got the idea to use a group of kids one day and then BANG, the next day he asked a school if he could come in and BANG, they all agreed and within a short period of time, the entire chorus of children was recorded. No questions asked. Nobody raised a fuss or anything, even the teachers in the school were excited and caught up in the moment without fully understanding what was going on. My point is this: Roger Waters wanted to show how conformity is everpresent, even when we're little, and even when we are rebelling. His point is definitely powerful." (Thanks for Brad Kaye for that wonderful interpretation.)
One of the great lines in the movie is said during this song is "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding." I might be interpreting too much into this, but I think this means that if one doesn't trudge through the hard times in life, then one can never have the rewards, or the pudding, of life. Doug Jensen gave another interpretation of this line, saying that "[t]his line is about being sodomized by the establishment. Of course, Pink doesn't want the 'pudding' that the establishment thinks everyone should have, and he certainly doesn't want to 'eat the meat' to get it. It all ties into the anti-individuality and 'conform or be damned' theme that runs throughout the album."
During this song, we also see hammers in the machinery that is grinding the kids. Hammers are a major symbol in the movie. They mainly symbolize two things: ruthless power and oppressive conformity. In this song, the hammers make up the machine which is causing all the kids to conform. In later songs, such as "Waiting For The Worms", the hammers take on a more militaristic aspect. Scot Kalar pointed out that hammers are one of the few tools that possess an equally constructive and destructive nature. (Thanks, Scot.) By this view, Pink not only uses the hammer to build up his wall but also to tear it down.

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?

"Mother" is a song in which young Pink expresses his concerns to his overprotective mother. The album version is terrific but the movie version is the better of the two in my opinion. In the movie, this song is played with something that sounds like a music-box rather than an acoustic guitar. The music-box sound makes the song sound more childlike and innocent, which goes great when juxtaposed with the mother's cynical voice. The song opens up with Pink's concerns of war, rooted with his father's death. He then wonders if "they", (meaning society, his peers, the world) will like his song or try to break him down. Now he asks his mother if he should build a wall...his mother's haunting answer can be found later. Pink questions whether he should run for president when he is older, but this does not literally mean president to me. It is there to show that Pink has dreams and hopes. After wondering whether he should trust the government and if "they" will take him down, there are three lyrics. In the album version, Pink asks "Is it just a waste of time?" with "it" referring to life. In the movie Pink sings "Am I really dying?" which shows that as a child, Pink became seriously ill, almost to the point of dying. His illness is later mentioned in "Comfortably Numb". It also might stand for Pink's epiphany that we all must die, just as his father did. The third lyric is from one of their concerts in which Pink sings "What a crazy time" referring to the events going on, World War II, and his life in general.
At this point, Pink's mother begins to sing. In her verses, we learn that she is EXTREMELY overprotective of her child, but she has good reason to be. She has lost her husband to war and she doesn't want her "baby blue" to be injured. She is almost portrayed as being psychotic to me, "Mama's gonna make all of your nightmares come true, Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you." Unwittingly, Pink's mother is forcing all of her fears and beliefs onto her son while thinking she is helping him by protecting him from the world. This also shows a psychological theory known as Behaviorism. A person learns to fear by observing others. In this case, Pink becomes fragile and despondent mainly as a result of observing his mother this way. This also supports the Psychodynamic theory (Sigmund Freud). The mother is using an ego-defense mechanism (projection) to protect herself from the pain. Unwittingly, she is projecting these fears onto her son. It can also be argued that she is using the defense of overcompensation, she is trying to cover her weaknesses by being extremely protective and maternal to Pink. Here, we get the answer to the question Pink asked his mother earlier...The answer is "Of course Mama's gonna help build a wall." She helps build the wall by encouraging him to build, trying to keep him far away from reality. Also, she helps build it unknowingly because she is one of the bricks in Pink's life. At this point in the movie, during the guitar solo, Pink has a flash back to his wedding and right before his second verse, we are shown a bit of his married life. Pink sits at the piano playing ("Comfortably Numb", of all songs) and his wife comes in. She tries to get his attention and when she finally does, he just stares vacantly at her. This shows the growing rift between the two of them, a chasm that will eventually cost them their marriage.
In his second verse, Pink is older than in the first verse. Here, he is either dating or possibly married. His questions concern the girl he is with; he asks his mother whether his girlfriend(wife?) is good enough for him, whether she is dangerous to him, whether she will dominate him, or will she break his heart.
In her second verse, Mother answers Pink's concerns toward the girl. Once again, we see how protective (psychotic) she is, stating that she will "check out all your girlfriends for you," and that she won't letting anyone "dirty" get to him, that she will always wait up for him at night, and that she will find out where he has been. Her next line shows that no matter what, Pink will always be "Baby Blue" to her; in her eyes he will always remain a child, needing the attention and care and protection that a child needs. "You'll always be baby to me."
Pink's last line is a bit of a mystery: "Mother did it need to be so high?". If "it" represents life, as it did earlier when Pink said "Is it just a waste of time?" then this line might be a question as to why life had to be so distorted, so drugged up.
Another interpretation of the last line is that the "it" is referring to Pink's ever-expanding wall. As Raven stated: "It was almost finished by the time he left home (i.e. his mother) and he says 'Mother, I know I needed a wall, but did it have to be so high that I can't get back out if I need to?'" Personally, I agree with Raven's interpretation. At the end of "Mother" there is a phone conversation. Pink, touring in America, tries to contact his wife in England, but little does he know that his wife has hooked up with another guy. When the operator calls Pink's house, the other man answers and when learning Pink is trying to get in touch with his wife, he hangs up. The operator tries again but the man hangs up again. Now, Pink realizes that there is another man in his wife's life. This realization is the basis for "Empty Spaces". An interesting tid-bit is that this phone conversation really happened. Roger Waters was the United States (touring, I believe) and called England in the middle of a concert. The person he was calling was in on the whole "joke", however the operator thought this was a real phone call and therefore tried her best to patch Waters through to his "wife".
What Shall We Do Now?

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where waves of hunger roar?
Shall we set out across the sea of faces
In search of more and more applause?
Shall we buy a new guitar?
Shall we drive a more powerful car?
Shall we work straight through the night?
Shall we get into fights?
Leave the lights on? Drop bombs?
Do tours of the east? Contract diseases?
Bury bones? Break up homes?
Send flowers by phone?
Take to drink? Go to shrinks?
Give up meat? Rarely sleep?
Keep people as pets?
Train dogs? Race rats?
Fill the attic with cash?
Bury treasure? Store up leisure?
But never relax at all
With our backs to the wall.

This song only appears in the movie set to some mighty fine animation of a wall tearing down everything in its path. This song is a social commentary about how we accept moral decay and excessive materialism as everyday life. It shows that we use these materialistic things to build up a wall between ourselves and all others. I particularly like the last two lines: "But never relax at all, With our backs to the wall." This shows that we stress ourselves out over petty things, over building our wall. Rather than search for a way through the wall, we sit defeated, not caring about others, just about ourselves, with our backs to the wall.
Empty Spaces

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How should I fill the final places?
How should I complete the wall?

Momentarily in the present, Pink has discovered his wife is cheating on him and becomes sullen (although this outcome is not a total shock when seeing that Pink hardly ever paid attention to his wife). In this song, Pink asks his wife, in his mind, what they shall do now. The most important line in the short song is the last one: "How should I complete the wall?" This shows us that Pink's wall is on the verge of being finished, and once it is complete, Pink will be totally separated from the real world.

The empty spaces referred to in the song are not only the space between he and his wife but also the few remaining holes in Pink's wall yet to be filled in. Originally, "Empty Spaces" was supposed to appear before "Another Brick In The Wall part III". In this position, "Spaces"'s meaning is reinforced because Pink is asking what he should use to fill the remaining gaps, and then ABITW3 kicks in, answering Pink's question. The answer is that everyone can be used: "All in all it was all just bricks in the wall/ All in all you were all just bricks in the wall."

If you play "Empty Spaces" backwards, your in for a surprise. Click here to listen to the beginning of the song backwards. You will here Roger Waters say "Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Send your answer to Old Pink in care of the funny farm." And then a second person says: "Roger, Carolyn is on the phone." A little Waters humor or more symbolism? You guessed it, more symbolism. "Empty Spaces" is a transitional song. It marks one of the times in which Pink loses touch with reality and his sanity. According to the backwards message, Old Pink is now at an insane asylum (within his mind) which means that the new, fascist Pink is taking over. The Carolyn that is mentioned in the background is Roger's wife. Roger has often said that if it had not been for Carolyn, he would have ended up insane like Pink.

Young Lust

I am just a new boy,
Stranger in this town.
Where are all the good times?
Who's gonna show this stranger around?
Ooooh, I need a dirty woman.
Ooooh, I need a dirty girl.
Will some woman in this desert land
Make me feel like a real man?
Take this rock and roll refugee
Oooh, baby set me free.
Ooooh, I need a dirty woman.
Ooooh, I need a dirty girl.

"Young Lust" shows the backstage party after a Pink concert. In the song, and movie, a bunch of groupies infiltrate the after-concert party and one ends up being the lucky one who goes back to the hotel room with Pink. Maybe Pink does this to get even with his cheating wife. Though I was convinced for a while that this song was a flashback, I am now certain it takes place in the present. I believed it was a flashback because in some songs, like this one, Pink's room is seen as being very high up, while in others, it appears his room is on the ground floor because he has a swimming pool outside of his room. What I finally realized is that many "ritzy" hotel suites, like one a rock star would stay in, have pools on their balconies, no matter how high up they are. Also, the blood from Pink's cut hand (cut in the present during "One Of My Turns") can be seen in the next song spreading in the pool that I mistakenly thought was on the ground floor.
One of My Turns

Day after day, love turns gray
Like the skin of a dying man.
Night after night, we pretend it's all right
But I have grown older and
You have grown colder and
Nothing is very much fun any more.
And I can feel one of my turns coming on.
I feel cold as a razor blade,
Tight as a tourniquet,
Dry as a funeral drum.
Run to the bedroom,
In the suitcase on the left
You'll find my favorite axe.
Don't look so frightened
This is just a passing phase,
One of my bad days.
Would you like to watch TV?
Or get between the sheets?
Or contemplate the silent freeway?
Would you like something to eat?
Would you like to learn to fly?
Would 'ya?
Would you like to see me try?
Would you like to call the cops?
Do you think it's time I stopped?
Why are you running away?

"One Of My Turns" documents Pink and the groupie from "Young Lust" which he has brought to his hotel room. In the movie, and heard on the album, Pink sits in a chair and watches an old war movie, perhaps reminding him of his dad, as the girl walks around looking and marveling at everything she sees. The song starts soft and simple as Pink gently sings his little ballad. As with "Young Lust", the lyrics to "One Of My Turns" suggest that the events taking place are in the present and that he is singing to his wife, commenting on how their love has turned gray and how their relationship has fallen apart. I believe these comments are also made to love in general, about how love is fickle and can change and grow older. Pink remarks that he is feeling lonely and stressed "As tight as a tourniquet", the tourniquet being used to show Pink's use of drugs. The song doesn't remain simple and quiet for long.
Pink unexpectedly becomes enraged and starts trashing the room while patronizing the groupie, asking her such questions as "Would you like to watch T.V., or get between the sheets, or contemplate the silent freeways, would you like something to eat?" and so on. This sudden uncontrolled outburst of emotion has been building within him like a volcano, but this isn't the first time it has vented, as suggested by the lyrics. "This is just a passing phase, one of my bad days." It seems Pink has been through many of these phases before, but, unfortunately the groupie did not know of his wild tendencies.
The movie Pink is watching is another interesting aspect of this song. It's an old war movie called "The Dambusters". Steve Jasper sent me this e-mail: "'The Dambusters' is essentially a biopic of Barnes Wallis, the bloke who designed the bouncing bomb. This was dropped by bombers onto German reservoirs where it bounced along the surface of the water and then slowly sank to the bottom of the dam wall where it would explode, breaching the dam and flooding the valley, causing all the factories to flood as well and thus halt the German steel production necessary for the war effort. In the Wall film, 'Dambusters' is on one of the channels on the telly all the way through the sequence with the TV in it.
-It's a war film all about blowing up walls." Thank you Steve for that incredible insight you have shed on this scene. p>
Don't Leave Me Now

Ooooh babe, don't leave me now.
Don't say it's the end of the road.
Remember the flowers I sent.
I need you, babe
To put through the shredder
In front of my friends
Ooooh babe, don't leave me now.
How could you go?
When you know how I need you
To beat to a pulp on a Saturday night
Ooooh babe, don't leave me now.
How can you treat me this way?
Running away.
Ooooh babe.
Why are you running away?
Oooooh Babe

"Don't Leave Me Now" is a song in which Pink addresses his adulterous wife in his mind, begging her to stay. He tries to remind her of all the great times they have had and all the pleasant things he has done for her: "Remember the flowers I sent, I need you, Babe". But just as he gets sentimental the mood shifts as he adds "To put through the shredder, In front of my friends" and "To beat to a pulp on a Saturday night". While remembering their relationship, we see that there really wasn't much love there in the first place if the beatings Pink claims actually happened (although these "beatings" are probably exaggerations of Pink's disturbed mind and represent his love/hate feelings towards this woman whom he thought he was in love with. I think we can all relate to this conflicting feelings brought in the name of love.) It is also likely that Pink didn't strike his wife, but rather he is feeling so hurt and repelled that he calms himself by thinking of inflicting harm onto the one who hurt him. Pink finally asks one more question: "Why are you running away?" Not literally running away, as from home, but leaving him for another man and also running away emotionally, though it is Pink who has been "running away" this whole time. This shows that Pink is absolutely clueless when it comes to the surrounding world and his relationship. It's not astonishing that his wife would look for love in other places when she did not get it with her husband. Their break up is one of the bricks that Pink directly caused.
Another Brick in the Wall, part 3

I don't need no arms around me
And I don't need no drugs to calm me.
I have seen the writing on the wall.
Don't think I need anything at all.
No! Don't think I'll need anything at all.
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.
All in all you were all just bricks in the wall.

Part III of the "Brick In The Wall" trilogy is my favorite. It takes place during the present, with the wall being very nearly completed. This song carries the anger, fear, angst, all the emotions of all the songs so far on this album, and rolls them into one powerful tune. In this song, Pink rejects the world, claiming he doesn't need the help of anyone or anything because he has seen what real life is all about. He has seen "the writing on the wall." A noticeable difference in the lyrics is rather than the singular brick in the wall mentioned in the previous two "Brick in the Wall" songs, Part III declares that all were "bricks" (plural) in the wall. This suggests that, unlike the previous songs which told of the wall being built, the wall is pretty much completed by this third song. The bricks are in place.
In the movie, we are shown scenes from Pink's life intertwined with a riot. Both life and rioting are similar because, like a riot, life is out of control and beyond our own hands to shape it.
Goodbye Cruel World

Goodbye cruel world,
I'm leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye, all you people,
There's nothing you can say
To make me change my mind.

Though the lyrics may sound like Pink is about to commit suicide, that's not what the song really means. (Although it does appear in the Top 100 songs to kill yourself to.) Pink is not leaving the cruel world by death, but he is leaving by becoming a recluse behind his wall. My favorite part about this song is the ending. After the final "Goodbye", the song abruptly ends, unlike its counterpart "Outside The Wall" in which the song's music continues playing after Pink finishes singing. The abruptness represents Pink's aspiration to leave the world behind and take refuge where no one can reach him, behind the wall. "Goodbye Cruel World" is the perfect ending to the first half of the album and movie. In the movie we are shown Pink as he searches for a chink, a way through his gigantic wall. It's almost as if he suddenly realizes what a huge mistake he has made.
Hey You

Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles, can you feel me?
Hey you, don't help them to bury the light
Don't give in without a fight.
Hey you, out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone, would you touch me?
Hey you, with you ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out, would you touch me?
Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I'm coming home.
But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high, as you can see.
No matter how he tried, he could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.
Hey you, out there on the road
Always doing what you're told, can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall, can you help me?
Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

"Hey You", another well known track from "The Wall", yet unfortunately it was left out of the movie. It is a entreaty from Pink as he realizes that being blocked off from the world is not as proficient as he thought it would be. In this song, Pink is calling for the help of anyone who might be able to hear him beyond his wall. It almost appears to be an instruction book set by Pink to those of us already constructing a wall: "Don't help them to bury the light/ don't give in without a fight." This might also be a plea for the outside world to help him out from his wall, a plea for those outside not to help "them" bury the light within Pink himself. Pink then goes on to plead for help in carrying "the stone," the burden that has been placed on him throughout his life and throughout the making of his wall.
After the guitar solo another voice, maybe the voice of reality, begins singing. It says that Pink's belief that someone could actually help him now is "only fantasy" because his wall is too high and too strong: there is no way in or out now. "No matter how he tried he could not break free." Though he struggles, Pink will not be able to free himself from the massive barrier he enthusiastically created. "And the worms ate into his brain." This lyric introduces the metaphor of the worms. Worms, in traditional literature, symbolize two things. The first, a symbol of death and decay. The second interpretation is Knowledge. The worms have eaten into Pink's brain, showing the degradation and decay of a normal mind into a psychotic mind. It shows a change (a rebirth of sorts...although in this case, the rebirth is not beneficial) through death. As a symbol for knowledge: the worms are knowledge of real life that Pink learned of at an early age, causing him to build his wall. Once he barricaded himself from the world, he learned that conditions behind the wall aren't as pleasant as he thought they would be. The worms eating into his brain are the true knowledge of reality: though it is useful to fortify one's self from the hard times of life, it can also be dangerous when one blocks out the good along with the bad times by building a entire wall.
After the grim voice of reality speaks, Pink begins singing again, but instead of asking for someone to "feel" or "touch" him, he gets right to the point and pleads for someone to "help" him. In the last lyric, "Together we stand, divided we fall" Pink realizes his fault in building a complete wall. He realizes that, though sometimes a nuisance, people need each other. And when one tries to become independent of all others, they most surely fall.
Is There Anybody Out There?

Is there anybody out there?
Is there anybody out there?
Is there anybody out there?
Is there anybody out there? (followed by a wonderful accoustic piece)

This song is the hardest one to analyze. (sarcasm) Containing only one lyric, "Is There Anybody Out There?" is a plea from the imprisoned Pink, calling for the attention of anyone beyond his wall. In the movie, Pink continually slams against the wall, trying to bust through, but as "Hey You" said, "It was only fantasy/ The wall was too high as you can see./ No matter how he tried he could not break free...". After the haunting voices end there plaguing problematic petition, the acoustic guitar leads in. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest pieces on "The Wall" and it is one of the greatest acoustic pieces in recorded history. What Pink is constructing in his hotel room is still a mystery. In an interview, Roger Waters stated that "Is There Anybody Out There?" is no more than a little sphere-piece, meant to create an atmosphere of isolation, also a main theme in "Hey, You" and "Nobody Home". (Thanks Maikel Aarts). Many people responded that they think Pink is building a replica of army barracks with battle bunkers and runways. However, the explanation I tend to agree with was sent in by Gogul Leviathon. He states: "Concerning the thing Pink was constructing in "Is There Anybody Out There?", I believe that it wasn't anything or shape in particular, but rather something to show his need to live an ordered and organized (up to the point of mania) life. I'm sure you recall the absolute chaos of his apartment at the start of "Don't Leave Me Now". For Pink to transform this into a painfully accurate design shows the fragile and tenuous state he was in. Moving a Coke can a few centimeters, replacing the guitar neck he knocked, seems silly to anyone else, but to Pink, it was not only necessary but essential to have it perfect." Bill Romanelli (Newboy) stated that "constructing the 'bunker' or whatever it is, from the debris in the room is the final expression of his creativity and individuality, and even his sanity, before he surrenders and disappears behind the wall into madness. I think what he builds is a monument to the creativity and inspiring beauty of his human spirit." (Thanks Bill).
Nobody Home

I've got a little black book with my poems in.
Got a bag with a toothbrush and a comb in.
When I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone in.
I got elastic bands keeping my shoes on.
Got those swollen hand blues.
Got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from.
I've got electric light.
And I've got second sight.
I've got amazing powers of observation.
And that is how I know
When I try to get through
On the telephone to you
There will be nobody home.
I've got the obligatory Hendrix perm.
And the inevitable pinhole burns
All down the front of my favorite satin shirt.
I've got nicotine stains on my fingers.
I've got a silver spoon on a chain.
I've got a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains.
I've got wild staring eyes.
And I've got a strong urge to fly.
But I got nowhere to fly to.
Ooooh, Babe when I pick up the phone
There's still nobody home.
I've got a pair of Gohills boots
And I got fading roots.

This song is relatively simple to analyze. Basically, the lyrics tell hidden meaning really. One lyric that many people have questions about is "those swollen hand blues." Why would Pink have swollen hands. Here is an explanation given by Rob. "When 'swollen hand blues' is sung, it may be referring to heroin injections as addicts often develop swollen hands." The swollen hands may also refer to Pink's childhood illness, hinted at in "Comfortably Numb" during which his hands "felt just like two balloons." Pink is going through possessions and problems, addressing his adulterous wife. "When I try to get through,/ on the telephone to you,/ there will be nobody home." Simply, no matter how much he tries, he will never get an answer because she knows that he found out about her affair. Through this song, simple as it is, a lot of emotion, mostly grief and self-pity, is carried through Roger Waters' voice.
Another interpretation, offered by Jeremy Daneils: "This is my favorite song on the album because it has a deeper emotional resonance that few people realize. It is, in many ways, stating that he who has all eventually has nothing. Pink's superstar status has given him riches, power, and more sex and drugs than he can handle. He has all of this, and yet he has a realization that this means nothing. There are literally thousands of rock stars with everything he has. He begins to regress, to crave the pure, non-sexual love he got as a child, before he was 'Pink Floyd'. I think this is really Waters talking here. 'Nobody Home' is a metaphor for the lost opportunities of suburban, monogamous bliss Pink feels he could experience if he had not strayed so far from his wife."
During "Nobody Home", the movie 'The Dambusters' is once again playing on the television. (For a synopsis of 'The Dambusters', refer to the "One Of My Turns" analysis.) More from Steve Jasper: "The sequence we hear, arguably one of the saddest in cinematic history, is the death of Nigger the dog. The dog is owned by one of the pilots who's on the raid and the dog is wandering around the air-base as he often did. But he gets lost because his master isn't around, The posh sounding officer laughs and turns hims away, and somebody else tells him he isn't supposed to be where he is. So he carries on wandering around. The dog then gets run over (by one of the officers, I think, but whoever it is becomes very concerned). People realize and run around to check if he's alright, but he dies. And everyone's sad and they think of it as a bad omen for the raid (although the raid goes well). The fact is that this clearly works on different levels. For a start, in 'The Dambusters', the death of the dog can be seen as a metaphor for the people dying in the ar, but more apparent o us is the connection between Nigger and Pink. Pink's dad isn't there and Pink gets sort of lost." Thanks once again, to Steve Jasper.

Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?
Remember how she said that
We would meet again
Some sunny day?
Vera! Vera!
What has become of you?
Does anybody else in here
Feel the way I do?

Prior to what I thought, Vera Lynn was a singer in World War II who was fancied by the European forces, especially the British. One of her songs is "We'll Meet Again" which is referred to in the lyrics to "Vera": "Remember how she said that we would meet again some sunny day". This song is a childhood reflection of Pink, but it's main purpose is to set a war theme which carries on to "Bring The Boys Back Home." (Special thanks to Phil Evens for telling me who Vera Lynn is.)

Here's some additional information about Vera Lynn submitted by Bradley Stapleton: Vera Lynn was born Vera Margaret Lewis in 1917 and became a British singer who was extremely popular in World War II. The lyrics to "We'll Meet Again" the song alluded to in "Vera" go as follows: "We'll meet again/ Don't know where/ Don't know when/ But I know we'll meet again some sunny day. / Keep smilin' through/ Just like you always do/ 'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away. / So will you please say hello/ To the folks that I know/ Tell them that it won't be long./ They'll be happy to know/ That as you saw me go/ I was singing this song. / We'll meet again/ Don't know where/ Don't know when/ But I know we'll meet again some sunny day."

Bring the Boys Back Home

Bring the boys back home.
Bring the boys back home.
Don't leave the children on their own, no, no.
Bring the boys back home.

"Bring The Boys Back Home," is a continuation of the war theme set during "Vera Lynn" and previous songs. In the movie, the people at the railway station sing this as they meet up with family members who survived World War II. Sadly enough, young Pink, though probably aware that his father is dead, still has hope that his dad is still alive and therefore begins to search for him at the station. In the song, the citizens implore that all the soldiers should be brought back home because the children should not grow up without a father (which is Pink's case) or brother or uncle, etc..
Comfortably Numb

Hello, is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Come on, now, I hear you're feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again.
Relax, I'll need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.
Ok, just a little pinprick.
There'll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working, good.
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on it's time to go.
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb

"Comfortably Numb" is one of the most recognized Pink Floyd songs from "The Wall", all for good reason: it is equally interesting as it is entertaining. Unconscious due to the drugs and recollections, Pink is found in his hotel room by his manager and a group of others who are trying to get him to one of his own concerts. The voice (Roger Waters) that sings the first and second verse is either the manager or a doctor, but most likely a doctor. The doctor is trying to awaken Pink and get him moving, as he does this he asks him questions to see if Pink can comprehend him, eg. "Hello, is there anybody in there?/ Just nod if you can hear me./ Is there anyone home?" For a change, someone is trying to get through to Pink, "is there anybody in there?" almost in answer of Pink's earlier question "Is there anybody out there?" The doctor then goes on to say that he can ease Pink's pain as long as Pink shows him "where it hurts." The most interesting thing about the verse part of the song is Waters' voice. The waviness and dream-like sound of his voice truly sound like he is calling through the haze and muddle that is Pink's brain. Some have even written me and said that the voice is the drug(s) that Pink has taken and that the doctor injects into him.
At this point, Pink (David Gilmour) begins to sing, saying that he feels no pain and that the doctor's voice is drifting away. As Pink falls into his mind, he sees images from his childhood, "A distant ship['s] smoke on the horizon." The doctors voice is "only coming through in waves" and Pink can see the doctor talking but can't quite make out what he is saying. Then Pink goes straight to the memories of his childhood. He tells of the fever he had when he was child, the sickness which was first told of in the movie version of "Mother": "Am I really dying?" He then describes the sickness, "My hands felt just like two balloons." He was feeling swollen and feverish. Now Pink feels the same way (as a result of the drugs) yet the doctor would not understand. "I have become comfortably numb." Pink has become numb to his present illness and to the painful memories as well as to the world around him. He has been numbed through drugs to physical ailments and by the use of his wall, Pink has numbed himself to the problems of the world.
During the chorus in the movie, young Pink is shown finding a rat in a field and taking it home to his mother. She is frightened by the creature and forces Pink to remove the rodent from the house. Pink takes the rodent to a wooden shed and leaves it there in a bed of hay. Later, Pink returns to find the rat has died. Taking the rat by the tail, the child throws it into the river. The question is "Why such an odd scene with a rat that has nothing to do with the story?" I believe one reason the rat was used was to show how Pink became infected with a sickness which nearly killed him in childhood. It also shows Pink's compassionate side, something we don't see much when he is an adult. It can also be interpreted in a Psychodynamic way using the theories of Sigmund Freud. The rat is a symbol of Pink's very being: he has projected ALL OF THE EOMOTIONS he has ever felt, especially those felt as a result of his father's death, onto this little creature. He learns from his mother that expressing those emotions is wrong (the mother rejects them, the rat, forcing Pink to hide them in a shed.) When the rat dies, a part of Pink dies as well. He sees that life is not bright and cheery, that it is full of death and disappointment. So what does he do with these emotions? He tosses them, along with the rat, into the muddy water. Psychoanalysts (those who follow the teachings of Freud) believe that water (especially in dreams) is a symbol of the unconscious mind. Therefore, when Pink throws the rat into the water, he is REALLY pushing his feelings and emotions into his unconscious, an ego-defense mechanism known as repression.
Surprisingly, the majority of e-mails I receive are about the rat! Here are a few interpretations: Marco suggests that the rat is "a sort of twisted illusion, a thing in which he put many hopes. He then shows it to his mother who discards the little animal. Next, Pink finds the rat dead, all his hopes are broken and thrown into the river." The river, in my own opinion, is a major symbol of the unconscious, so according to Marco, his shattered hopes and illusions are thrust into his unconscious. They are oppressed until they come back with full force later in Pink's life. Allen Myers suggests that the rat is a sort of symbol of Pink. When Pink finds the rat, it is sick and he cares for the creature. However, when Pink himself becomes sick, his mother calls in the doctor, but ultimately leaves him alone in the dark.
In the second verse, the doctor begins to speak to the dazed Pink. He gives Pink a shot which will take away the pain. According to Rob (a Floyd fan who e-mailed me), this shot is not supposed to take away the pain, but add to it. "In Comfortably Numb, when the doctor gives Pink an injection, it may not be to take away the pain. If you remember, he screams after the injection. It might be Narcan, which is an opiate antagonist often given to heroin abusers when they enter emergency rooms. It kills their high immediately. However, if they're suffering from paranoid delusions (the wall, the dictator) it would not help those." He [the doctor] then gets Pink to stand up and notices that the shot is working. "That'll keep you going through the show." Normally, "the show" is a metaphor for life, but in this verse, I think it simply means the concert Pink is about to perform.
Pink takes over the song again, still immersed in childhood memories. "When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse/ Out of the corner of my eye." A fleeting glimpse of what? That's hard to determine. I think he briefly saw the knowledge of the wall and it's effects in proportion to his whole life. It's almost like a semi-epiphany: he sees the cosmic picture, how the world is inter-related. It's the classic "pebble in the pond" metaphor. If you drop a tiny pebble into a pond it creates ripples which affect the entire pond. It might also imply that this is the first time Pink sees that the world is not all bright and cheery. As a child, he saw that life is harsh and unrelenting (much like the voice instructed in "The Thin Ice"). Another interpretation, given by Casey, states: "I think this [the fleeting glimpse] is a flashback to his childhood and he thinks he has spotter his father. He is still hoping [his father] is still alive. Then, as he grows older, he has finally accepts the fact that his father is dead." As a child he momentarily saw the reality of life and stark death. "The child is grown,/ the dream is gone." Little Pink in all his innocence has grown up and his dreams, his hopes have all disappeared. Bill Romanelli writes: "My theory is that it's a fleeting glimpse of a life, and a world, without walls. Everyone on the planet at one time or another wishes they could go back to the innocence of their childhood, that they could see the world through the eyes of a child. All of us, when we're children, have this fleeting glimpse. I think it's 'fleeting' because this 'innocence' of childhood probably only lasts until we're three of four years old, and few of us are even fully self aware before we're two years old. That means for two years of our life (practically an instant in a 40 year life0 we exist in a state where we feel safe, cared for, and untroubled. We're completely undistracted by material concerns, egos, and so on. And we trust everybody, implicitly. And then it's gone. The child has grown, the dream (of a world without walls) is gone." (Thank you very much Bill for your outstanding interpretation.)
In the movie, there are quick shots between present day Pink as he is being dressed and carried to his concert and a long row of people, such as his father, teacher, doctor, soldiers, all who helped contribute a brick to his wall.
The Show Must Go On

Ooooh, Ma, Oooh Pa
Must the show go on?
Ooooh, Pa. Take me home
Ooooh, Ma. Let me go

Do I have to stand up
Wild eyed in the spotlight?
What a nightmare. Why
Don't I turn and run.

There must be some mistake
I didn't mean to let them
Take away my soul.
Am I too old, is it too late?
Ooooh, Ma, Ooooh Pa,
Where has the feeling gone?
Ooooh, Ma, Ooooh Pa,
Will I remember the song?
The show must go on.

"The Show Must Go On" is another song that was cut from the movie. It is a short tune in which Pink questions his new state. (the lyrics in italics are printed on the lyric sheet but aren't sung.) Pink states the things he didn't realize when he was building his wall. "I didn't mean to let them take away my soul..." Next he wonders if "He is too old is it too late?" Pink is wondering if he is too old or too late to start anew, to tear down his wall and try to move on with what is left of his life, or if he should even try because death is always lurking around the corner. It could also be a contemplation of suicide. Pink has realized the enormity of his burden and wonders whether he would be better off killing himself, thus ending "the show". Pink decides that, like his concert, the "show" a metaphor for his life, must go on.
In the Flesh

So ya, thought ya
Might like to go to the show.
To feel that warm thrill of confusion,
That space cadet glow.
I've got some bad news for you sunshine,
Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel
And they sent us along as a surrogate band
We're gonna find out where you folks really stand.
Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There's one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me,
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one's a coon!
Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
There's one smoking a joint,
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I'd have all of you shot!

"In The Flesh" (notice there is no question mark) takes us to Pink's concert. Unlike the first "In The Flesh?", the second is not about birth but rather about life; it shows how people can foolishly and blindly follow the views of a role model and how role models can maliciously exercise their power. In the song, Pink regretfully informs the audience that "Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel." In other words, the old Pink has been left behind and new Pink, the product of the wall, has gained dictatorial power. To test the fans' devotion, Pink orders that all the minorities be placed up against the wall, then claiming that if he had his way, all the "queers...Jewish...coons..." would be shot. THIS SONG SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A RACIAL BALLAD!!! This song is used to show, as was said earlier, the tyrannical role models hold over the people and it shows how the role models get lost in their power, much like Pink, who becomes a Hitler type character, ruling over his followers and wishing to diminish the minorities.
Here is another interpretation of this song as stated by Raven: "...Pink performs this song because, well, let's hear Pink explain (in my words; I think Pink would say this): 'Gee, my father died, my wife left, and I finally find a nice little spot back here where I can wither in peace, and instead of either leaving me alone or helping me, you shoot me up and NOW you want me to give a concert to a bunch of faceless people I don't know? FINE! I'll give you a concert...MY WAY!' Being very bitter and angry, Pink 'gets even' with everyone by spewing hate all over the fans." (Thanks for the interpretation, Raven.)
A significant symbol which appears again is the hammer. Instead of a swastika, the symbol of the nazis, Pink uses the hammer. As I stated earlier, the hammers, in this song and throughout the rest of the album, represent oppression by force. Basically, if you don't submit, you will be beaten into submission. In this case, the hammer is used to tear down the moral fabric of society (much like the Nazis) and used to build up hatred.
Martin Plamondon e-mailed me this information: "In 1977, in the tour for the album Animals, a tour named the In The Flesh Tour, at the last or one of the last concerts of the tour, Roger was getting really alienated by the large stadium crowds. In that specific concert in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Roger got angry at one of the fans in one of the first rows. This person, like he said in an interview later, wasn't really caring about the concert and was kind of influencing other fans around him, which bugged Roger. At one point in the concert, Roger just got that person to the front row, gripped him, an spat on his face. After that concert, Roger felt guilty about what he had done. He realized at what point he was alienated by the large crowds where there's no feeling of intimate relation with the fans like they used to have before they became famous. Feeling guilty about that, Roger started to think of something to keep him from repeating that act again and slowly in his mind, the concept of the Wall grew."
Run Like Hell

You better make your face up in
Your favorite disguise.
With your button down lips and your
Roller blind eyes.
With your empty smile and your hungry heart.
Feel the bile rising from your guilty past.
With your nerves in tatters
As the cockleshell shatters
And the hammers batter down the door.
You better run.
You better run all day and run all night.
And keep your dirty feelings deep inside.
And if you're taking your girlfriend out tonight
You better park the car well out of sight.
Cause if they catch you in the back seat
Trying to pick her locks,
They're gonna send you back to mother
In a cardboard box.
You better run.

"Run Like Hell" is a continuation of "In The Flesh". It serves as Pink's warning to all those who will not follow him or who are "different". "You better make your face up in your favorite disguise," Pink warns, threatening that one should either play by his rules, pretend to play by his rules, or run like hell, because those who don't conform will be sent home " a cardboard box."
Bill Romanelli wrote: "During World War II, all the Jews in Nazi Germany were rounded up and forced in ghettos within some major cities. The scene in "The Wall" in "Run Like Hell" is (in my opinion) a re-creation of an event called "Krystalnacht", or "crystal night", when Nazi stormtroopers raided the ghettos, shooting, looting, and so on. The term "crystal night" came about from all the broken glass on the streets and sidewalks which glittered in the moonlight. The analysis says the message in "Run Like Hell" is Pink saying 'you'd better play by my rules or you better run.' Re-enacting Krystalnact is appropriate here, as the Nazi's are saying to the Jews, you are not like us, you will never be like us, and you must be eliminated. If you think you can escape, you better run." (Once again, thank you Bill.)
Waiting for the Worms

Ooooh, you cannot reach me now
Ooooh, no matter how you try
Goodbye, cruel world, it's over
Walk on by.

Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.
Waiting to cut out the deadwood.
Waiting to clean up the city.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to put on a black shirt.
Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
Waiting to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors.
Waiting for the final solution
To strengthen the strain.
Waiting to follow the worms.

Waiting to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens.
Waiting for the queers and the coons
and the reds and the Jews.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again, my friend?

All you have to do is follow the worms.
Would you like to send our colored cousins
Home again, my friend?
All you need to do is follow the worms.

"Waiting For The Worms" is the third and final song to discuss the tyranny theme. It begins with Pink saying that no one can reach him now behind his wall, so just walk on by. It shows that Pink has just about given up his search for a way out of his self-made prison. Pink now sits patiently " a bunker" (War theme) behind his wall waiting for the worms to come, waiting for knowledge and enlightenment or waiting for death and decay of the rest of Old Pink. "In perfect isolation here behind my wall." Pink got what he wanted, perfect isolation, which is what he was seeking when building the wall, yet once his isolation is gained, he comprehends the full meaning of the word.
At this point, Pink's autocratic side kicks in. Walking down the street with his loyal devotees, Pink shouts off numerous threats slurs to frighten the people. After all, he is allowed to do this because he is FAMOUS. "Waiting to turn on the showers and fire the ovens." This lyric, above all, is a reference to Hitler and World War II in which 6 million Jews were killed in the gas showers and burned in the ovens. Symbolically, Pink has become the very thing which played a part in his father's death, the force that once was held by Hitler, the force of tyranny and oppression. It's most likely that these things don't actually happen in the real world, only within Pink's very disturbed mind in which he fancies himself no less than a god.
Ryan Meekins wrote: "The line 'waiting for the final solution' is characteristic of the Holocaust. The final solution was Hitler's third and final stage of his warfare in which he saw he was not winning the war the way he wanted. The final solution was basically his decision to go full force with the killing of the Jews. It was during this time that most were killed." (Thanks Ryan).
Sagi wrote: "The fascist character might be based on a British politician who's name is Sir Oswald Mosely (spelling?) who established the British-fascist party. Their sign was a megaphone. Some of his slogans can be recognized in 'Waiting For The Worms'." (Thanks Sagi.)


I wanna go home
Take off this uniform
And leave the show.
But I'm waiting in this cell
Because I have to know.
Have I been guilty all this time?

Pink sheds off his domineering demeanor and realizes what he has become. He states that he wants to go home and leave the show; he wants to kill himself and leave life. But the only reason Pink has stayed around in his cell, his body and life, is because he has to know if he's been guilty of everything he has done: for building his wall, becoming numb to his world, becoming an oppressor. He wants to know if he is the only one to blame for these things or not. It appears that Pink has gained feelings "of an almost human nature," which are discussed in "The Trial".
In the movie, Pink sits by a toilet, reading poems from his little black book. If you listen closely, you can hear Pink read/sing "Do you remember me? How we used to be? Do you think we should be closer?" which is a lyric from "Possible Pasts" off the Floyd album "The Final Cut". Many say "The Final Cut" is the sequel to "The Wall". Indeed, many of the same themes are present and even a few of the songs seem to be about Pink, such as the song "The Final Cut" in which the character, who I presume to be Pink, is about to slit his wrists with a knife when the phone rings. "I held the blade in trembling hands, prepared to make it but...just then the phone rang. I never had the nerve to make the final cut." Pink also mumbles other lyrics from Roger Waters' solo album "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" (which was conceived and written at the same time as "The Wall"). The lyrics are: "And I put out my hand just to touch your soft hair/ To make sure in the darkness that you were still there/ And I have to admit/ I was just a little afraid, oh yeah/ But then..."
Brad Kaye points out: "Right before the transition between 'Stop' and 'The Trial' the lyrics say 'So I'm waiting in this cell because I have to know/ Have I been guilty all this time?' During the actual transition ' know. know. know.' is echoed over and over until the trial sequence begins. Does this possibly foreshadow the impending judgment? If so, it is a stroke of genius by Waters and company." (Thanks Brad. I'd have to agree.)
The Trial

Good morning, Worm your honor.
The crown will plainly show
The prisoner who now stands before you
Was caught red-handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature.
This will not do.
Call the schoolmaster!
I always said he'd come to no good
In the end your honor.
If they'd let me have my way I could have
Flayed him into shape.
But my hands were tied,
The bleeding hearts and artists
Let him get away with murder.
Let me hammer him today.
Crazy... toys in the attic I am crazy,
Truly gone fishing.
They must have taken my marbles away.
Crazy, toys in the attic. He is crazy.
You little shit you're in it now,
I hope they throw away the key.
You should have talked to me more often
Than you did, but no.
You had to go your own way, have you
Broken any homes up lately?
Just five minutes, Worm your honor,
Him and Me, alone.
Come to mother baby, let me hold you in my arms.
M'Lord I never wanted him to get in any trouble.
Why'd he ever have to leave me?
Worm, your honor, let me take him home.
Crazy, over the rainbow, I am crazy,
Bars in the window.
There must have been a door there in the wall
When I came in.
Crazy, over the rainbow, he is crazy.
The evidence before the court is incontrovertible
There's no need for the jury to retire.
In all my years of judging I have never heard before
Of someone more deserving of the full penalty of law.
The way you made them suffer,
Your exquisite wife and mother,
Fills me with the urge to defecate!
Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers.
Tear down the wall!

Not enough can be said about this song. I barely can scratch the surface of it, let alone the whole album, but I will try. Because of his impending guilt, Pink is taken to court in his mind where he is tried for showing "feelings of an almost human nature." The first witness called by the prosecutor is Pink's schoolmaster who claims that he could have beaten Pink into shape if the "bleeding hearts and artists" didn't get in the way. The schoolmaster blames Pink's outcome on Pink alone. He ends on the note that he can still "hammer him today."
Pink then sings briefly of his insanity. " in the attic. I am crazy." The next witness called is Pink's wife, who blames their broken marriage on Pink. "You should have talked to me more often than you did, but no! You had to go your own way have you broken any homes up lately?" His wife, like his schoolmaster, ends on the note of revenge. "Just five minutes Worm your honor, him and me alone."
The next and final witness is Pink's mother who still shows signs of her overprotective nature. "But I never wanted him to get in any trouble. Why'd he ever have to leave me?" Pink's mother ends her testimony begging the judge to let her take Pink home.
Pink again sings of his insanity.
The Judge is ready to give Pink's sentence, claiming that never before had he seen one more deserving of punishment than Pink. It angers the judge to see one who has wrongfully treated his "exquisite wife and mother" (notice the schoolmaster isn't mentioned) though I think Pink's mother is more to blame than Pink. The sentence: Pink must not hide behind his wall anymore. He must now destroy his wall so that he will no longer be "comfortably numb" to the world around him.
This judgment has positive and negative aspects to it. In the positive, Pink will no longer be self-absorbed and will be able to get on with his life. In the negative, Pink will be totally vulnerable to the harshness of life. No remnants of his wall will remain, thus giving him not the least bit of protection from the hostility of life.
Throughout the trial, Pink is shown as being a rag doll. He no longer cares that he is being prosecuted. He's just a doll being tossed around from accuser to accuser, occasionally whimpering ("crazy, over the rainbow") but never defending himself. Thanks to Jeremy Rice for that interpretation. Perhaps he is not defending himself because he knows with absolute certainty that he is to blame for all his own misfortunes.
Outside the Wall

All alone, or in twos,
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands.
The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand.
And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall.

"Outside The Wall" is less about Pink than it is about the loved ones of those who are imprisoned behind a wall. "The ones who really love you" walk outside the wall, trying to make contact with those within. Those who try with all their hearts to contact those within the wall sometimes "stagger and fall", much like Pink's wife who turns to another man when her husband does not respond to her many attempts to bring him out from behind the massive stone structure. "it's not easy banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall."
The most memorable part of this song for me is the scene which accompanies it in the movie. Young children gather the various rocks and debris from a fallen wall and place these items in a toy dump truck. When watching this scene I am always puzzled. Are the children gathering the items to discard or are they symbolically collecting the bricks for their own wall?
Something Raven pointed out to me which got me thinking was the little kid at the end who has the Molitov cocktail. "He tastes it and then pours it out. I think this is a person, starting to hate, tasting it, then, unlike Pink, throws it away instead of drinking it." (Once again, many thanks to Raven.)