In the enchanting narrative by Marcel Aymé titled “The Man Who Walked Through Walls” (French: Le Passe-muraille), we delve into the extraordinary life of Dutilleul, a resident of Montmartre in 1943. At the age of forty-three, he stumbles upon the astonishing ability to effortlessly pass through solid walls. Seeking a remedy for his newfound gift, Dutilleul consults a doctor who prescribes strenuous work and medication. Despite the doctor’s advice, he maintains his inactive lifestyle and, a year later, retains his wall-passing ability.
When a new manager makes his work unbearable, Dutilleul uses his power to torment the manager, ultimately driving him to madness and institutionalization. Seizing the opportunity, Dutilleul turns to a life of crime, burglarizing banks and jewelry shops. Adopting the pseudonym “The Lone Wolf,” he leaves his mark at each crime scene in red chalk, gaining notoriety in the town. To claim the fame of “The Lone Wolf,” Dutilleul intentionally gets caught but repeatedly escapes prison using his unique skill.
His life takes a romantic turn as he falls for a married woman, using his ability to spend nights with her while her husband is away. A twist of fate occurs when Dutilleul mistakenly takes medicine, thinking it’s aspirin. The medicine, prescribed by his doctor a year earlier, alters his ability. As he attempts to pass through a wall, he finds himself immobilized, realizing his error too late. Trapped in the wall, Dutilleul becomes a permanent resident, his extraordinary ability leading to an unforeseen and ironic fate.