The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

Brick Walls Symbol Analysis

Brick Walls Symbol Icon

Almost every time Randy runs up against an obstacle, he refers to it as a ‘brick wall.’ However, rather than letting these brick walls keep him from what he wants, Randy uses the walls as opportunities to show how badly he wants whatever it is that they’re blocking. Brick walls try to stop Randy from getting accepted to Brown University, floating in NASA’s zero gravity machine, becoming a Disney Imagineer, and getting his future wife, Jai, to fall for him. In each case, Randy is undeterred by the obstacles keeping him from his dreams, and, in fact, when reflecting on his life, he believes that each of these brick walls was “there for a reason” because they “give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

Brick Walls Quotes in The Last Lecture

The The Last Lecture quotes below all refer to the symbol of Brick Walls. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hyperion edition of The Last Lecture published in 2008.
Chapter 6 Quotes

Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Related Symbols: Brick Walls
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 11 Quotes

The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Related Symbols: Brick Walls
Page Number: 51-52
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pa

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Brick Walls Symbol Timeline in The Last Lecture

The timeline below shows where the symbol Brick Walls appears in The Last Lecture. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Getting to Zero G
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
...“was heartbroken, but not deterred.” He was resolved to find his way around this “ brick wall .” (full context)
Chapter 11: The Happiest Place on Earth
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
...Walt Disney Imagineering, and got rejected. However, Randy kept his mantra in mind that “ brick wall s are there for a reason”—not to keep us out, but to “give us a... (full context)
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
...doesn’t think Randy should work there. “Dean Wormer” is proof that “sometimes, the most impenetrable brick wall s are made of flesh.” (full context)
Chapter 16: Romancing the Brick Wall
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
The most “formidable brick wall ” Randy ever came across was 5’6” and beautiful, but it reduces him to tears... (full context)
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
...spent most of the day on the phone with his parents, “telling them about the brick wall ” he’d just smashed into. Randy’s dad told him that he didn’t think Jai meant... (full context)
Chapter 26: They Just Blew Me Away
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
...to design rides, games, or anything else. At times, Randy and Don became each other’s brick wall s, as their right-brain vs. left-brain thinking was so different, but they always managed to... (full context)
Chapter 39: Be The First Penguin
Teaching, Learning, and Feedback Loops Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
...sabbatical working at Electronic Arts, and he thinks it’s a phrase worth considering at every brick wall we encounter, and at every disappointment. When Randy teaches the “Building Virtual Worlds” course, he... (full context)
Chapter 53: Never Give Up
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
...eventually they decide that “they might as well accept” him. Tenacity got Randy over that brick wall . (full context)
Teaching, Learning, and Feedback Loops Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
...If you want something bad enough, never give up (and take a boost when offered).” Brick walls are indeed there for a reason, even if someone else has to throw you over... (full context)