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Through The Tunnel Analysis Essay

Max Lerner once said “The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.” Doris Lessing illustrates this point in her short story, “Through the Tunnel.” In the short story, Jerry, a young, English boy, finds himself by overcoming the obstacles of adolescence. As the story opens, readers learn that Jerry, who is on vacation with his mother, is eleven years old–a time during which many boys begin to distance themselves from their parents. On this vacation, Jerry desires some time away from his mother, and ventures away from the family beach to the “wild bay.” Once there, he encounters a group of older boys, who seem to be natives, and who dont speak English. Jerry…

For example, the scene with the goggles. “As soon as she had bought the goggles, he grabbed them from her hand as if she were going to claim them for herself, and was off, running down the steep path to the bay” (Lessing). This scene with the goggles shows his determination and effort for completing his challenging task but at the same time, shows his need for protection. He is attempting something very dangerous and potentially life threatening, but he does that while wearing a form of safety. It’s almost as if he’s almost there… but not quite yet. As another source agrees, “He risks his life, but does so while wearing swimming goggles, which are symbolic of both his inexperience and his need for protection” (Wilson). It means that even though he’s determined to do something wild, he feels to need for safety. It shows the progress he slowly makes to adolescence, it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a part of growing up, he’s taking small…

The beach and the bay symbolize the two parts of Jerry that are in conflict. The safe beach where his mother relaxes, represents the safety and maternal protection Jerry experienced as a child. The wild bay represents the part of Jerry that wishes to break away from his mothers sheltering watch and become more independent. Each setting represents a feeling. The beach, childhood. The bay, adulthood. Facing the rough and rocky bay is scary, but is a part of growing up. “He leaves the safety of this nursery-like beach and journeys to the treacherous wild and rocky bay and the underwater tunnel.” (Wilson) It is at the wild bay that he sees the boys swimming through the underwater tunnel. The tunnel also has symbolic meaning. This is where he decides to prove himself so that he can feel a sense of “belonging.” He sees what the boys can do and he challenges himself through intense self-training to try to be like them. The tunnel represents Jerrys rite of passage as he moves from childhood to adulthood. The tunnel is like the journey to becoming more mature and independent. You need training, you need practice, and you will definitely experience difficult and challenging obstacles, but there
is always light at the end of the tunnel.
In addition to symbolism, the author also conveys her message by using similes. Take this quote for example. “It was as if he had eyes of a different kind…” (Lessing) This particular quote was also part of the goggles scene….

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