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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Hilary Moon Murphy's Avatar

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    Default The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    In the Order of the Stick Forum, there is a lot of discussion of the fourth wall between the audience and the story, and how OotS characters break it all the time, acknowledging their fictional nature and the fact that they are in a story. It is part of the delight and humor of the story.

    But this led me to thinking... If the fourth wall is the one between the audience and the characters, what are the other walls? Can we break them? If so, how so?

    Hmm
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    I believe the third wall is the wall between the characters and the characters who don't break the fourth wall.

    But that's just my take on it.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Boring answer: Assuming the camera is looking in through the fourth wall, and the walls are numbered clockwise, breaking the 1st wall would bring you to the room on the left, 2nd to the room along the z-axis, and 3rd to the right.

    But that is very boring indeed.

    How about this:
    1st wall: Previous panel (time travel! That'd get confusing).
    2nd wall: Out the back of the comic. Previous comic?
    3rd wall: Next panel (gah, even more confusing!)

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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Yeah, I think the term comes from plays by the fact that we are seeing into peoples lives. So we are basically looking into the "building" the actors are in, but one of the walls is missing. That would be the fourth wall.

    Knocking down the others you may find; backstage, the camera crew, or even the director.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    We musn't forget about the 5th wall, oh no, that would be a deadly mistake indeed.
    Still not really here. Still just an illusion.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Death, your friend the Reaper View Post
    Yeah, I think the term comes from plays by the fact that we are seeing into peoples lives. So we are basically looking into the "building" the actors are in, but one of the walls is missing. That would be the fourth wall.

    Knocking down the others you may find; backstage, the camera crew, or even the director.

    Death Inc. holds no validity of above statements truth
    Observe: WP:Fourth wall.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Yup, I linked to the Wikipedia definition in my initial post.

    For a theater analogy, there is not much in the way of extra walls to break:



    But in a web comic the whole time progression makes things quite interesting:

    .

    I love the idea that the first wall would be time travel into the past, the second wall would be back story and that the third wall would deal with the future.

    If we define the walls as such though, how do we *really* break them?

    I do not believe that a flashback is time travel or even wall breakage. I don't think that a prophecy by itself constitutes a break into the future, but messing with the prophecy possibly could...

    What is really interesting for me is the second wall. I think it gets broken when the author gives us sneak peaks into a world that all the characters miss. We see a tell tale clue or object and suddenly understand (if we catch it) something that all the characters are missing.

    A great example of this happens in this strip of Girl Genius, where the characters discover that "Baba Yaga" (a mechanical cart that walks on chicken legs) has suddenly been fixed... In fact the gearage mysteriously improved while the driver was driving it.

    Agatha had made plans to repair it, but had not been able to actually fix it. So how did it get fixed?

    A glance at the bottom hand corner of the strip tells the audience the real answer.

    Can you guys think of other examples of how this could work?

    Hmm
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Well to break the 2nd wall you time travel and make something never happen
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilary Moon Murphy View Post
    Yup, I linked to the Wikipedia definition in my initial post.
    Oh, so you did.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Death, your friend the Reaper View Post
    Yeah, I think the term comes from plays by the fact that we are seeing into peoples lives. So we are basically looking into the "building" the actors are in, but one of the walls is missing. That would be the fourth wall.

    Knocking down the others you may find; backstage, the camera crew, or even the director.

    Death Inc. holds no validity of above statements truth
    I Think that if you break the "2nd wall" the one oposite to the 4th wall, the characters will find another fiction universe, but from that universe point of view, they are breaking the 4th wall or something like it
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluelantern View Post
    I Think that if you break the "2nd wall" the one oposite to the 4th wall, the characters will find another fiction universe, but from that universe point of view, they are breaking the 4th wall or something like it
    Maybe a 2nd wall breach is when one of the characters writes a webcomic that breaks its fourth wall?
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    [picard]There...are...*four*...walls! [/picard]
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    You must be mistaken. There are only THREE walls.

    If I, in real life, say something like, "don't swear, it might offend our readers," am I breaking the fourth wall?


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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    No, you'd be showing signs of schizophrenia.

    If you broke down the back wall of the comic, and it revealed a backstage with a director, then technically you'd still be breaking the forth wall, because you're still only acknowledging the fantasy of the story. Like when the swordfight in "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" crashes through the fake castle walls and they accidentally kill a Production Assistant. Typical Forth Wall infraction.

    Someone's already given the boring answer, but I really like some of the metaphorical ones that have been suggested. I'm gonna take a crack at this, maybe a bit more comprehensively...

    Let's first define the 1st wall as the entire in-story reality. In other words, we currently exist in a universe with only one wall. There is nobody watching us, as far as we know (whether we are being watched or not is irrelevent: we have to know we're being watched in order to break the 4th wall). But aside from that, we can't manipulate time, and we can't know more information than our senses collect for us. So I'm going to play off that.

    The second wall could be, say, the passage of time. Film, literature, comics and reality all handle time in different ways, and they all (with one obvious exception) manipulate those conventions from time to time. Screwing with the way time works would then be 'breaking the second wall'. When a chracter in Panel two points at something that only exists in Panel three, that's a 2nd Wall Infraction. Same with comics where multiple panels, each housing the same collection of characters (usually en transit), share a single panoramic background. A filmic similie would be a scene that cuts between current action and events from the past.

    Then, the third wall might be, perhaps - the subtext, backstory, and referential knowledge that nobody in the world ever or rarely learns. When a character is first introduced, and the reader learns her name and rank in a caption, that would be breaking the third wall. Notes about background data that characters already know or will never learn would go in this category. Schlock Mercenary would be a major offender of this, in that case. It would be the place filled with disembodied narrators, in other words.

    Of course, this is all a matter of perspective. These walls could all be composed of anything. The only reason everyone agrees on the fourth wall is because it's an old term. But since nobody talks about the other three, there's a whole plethora of storytelling conventions that could actually fit in place of what I suggested.

    But it's still fun to play with.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Other Walls and How to Break Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodimus View Post
    Then, the third wall might be, perhaps - the subtext, backstory, and referential knowledge that nobody in the world ever or rarely learns. When a character is first introduced, and the reader learns her name and rank in a caption, that would be breaking the third wall. Notes about background data that characters already know or will never learn would go in this category. Schlock Mercenary would be a major offender of this, in that case. It would be the place filled with disembodied narrators, in other words.
    Actually, the narrator is completely different from anything "wall"-related. Schlock Mercenary does have various fourth-wall infractions, most often characters pushing or pulling against the frames of the strip to get in the "camera", often untintentionally.

    Anyways, considering the theatrical connotations of the fourth wall, the other three walls are the strip's backdrop.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2007-02-14 at 09:49 PM.
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