Created By: Rexleigh on June 17, 2011 Last Edited By: radmanryano on June 17, 2011

Truman's Wall

The Fictional Fourth Wall

Name Space:
Page Type:
A Truman's Wall is a specific type of Fourth wall (imaginary boundary between viewer and performer) that is also a Platonic Cave (where the entity inside is ignorant of a larger reality).

The naming trope is The Truman Show, a film where the main character is unaware his entire life is artificial-- and being observed each moment by the entire world. When he attempts to flee his island home by sail boat, he crashes into a wall at the horizon. Only then does he begin to realize that he is inside of an artificial world, thus breaking out of the Platonic Cave.

Though he once was unaware, Truman becomes aware of his audience. He then proceeds to also break the fourth wall by turning around and waving at the camera and repeating his catch phrase to the wide-eyed live television audience.

Interestingly, a Truman's Wall must also be an Inner, or nested, Fourth Wall. A fourth wall exists between Truman and his FICTIONAL in-movie audience and also between the FICTIONAL audience and the TRUE audience (the viewers).

In this case, the well-known fourth wall still remains unbroken. Neither Truman nor the ficional audience ever communicates with us at home. But something has been broken--something like a fictional fourth wall. Truman's Wall.



  • Stranger than Fiction Harold can't figure out why he seems to hear someone narrating everything he does. He comes to discover that he is a character in a novel-in-progress, and begs his creator to write a happy ending.
Community Feedback Replies: 5
  • June 17, 2011
    I thikn these examples just go under Breaking The Fourth Wall, listed as "invoked in-universe."

    Also, Network doesn't count. There is no fourth wall paradigm for news programs.
  • June 17, 2011
    I adjusted the definition a little bit. A Truman's Wall must be both a Fourth Wall and Platonic Cave. This is what differentiates it from your everyday Fourth Wall.

    That said, I completely agree about Network, it's gone now.
  • June 17, 2011
    Recursive Fourth Walls would be ab better title.
  • June 17, 2011
    3.5th wall
  • June 17, 2011
    • The Ring?

    • any instance when a show within a show breaks the fourth wall only to the ficitonal audience? Bonus points if it's someone hallucinating
      • Agent Booth in Bones hallucinates Stewie from the family guy on TV talking to him.