“Through the Tunnel” is a short story by Doris Lessing. It was first published in 1955, and has been widely anthologized.
The story is about a young boy named Jerry, who is on vacation with his mother in France. While exploring a beach, he comes across a group of older boys who are swimming through a narrow tunnel. Jerry is determined to do the same, even though his mother warns him that it is too dangerous.
After many failed attempts, Jerry finally makes it through the tunnel. This experience changes him, and he begins to see himself in a new light. He is no longer just a boy who is afraid of the water; he is now someone who has conquered his fears.
The fundamental moment in coming of age, as Max Lerner put it, is “when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.” In her short story “Through the Tunnel,” Doris Lessing vividly demonstrates this idea through Jerry, a young English boy. By triumphing over various teenage challenges, Jerry finds and strengthens his own identity.
While on vacation with his mother, Jerry becomes fixated on swimming through a dangerous underwater tunnel. The journey to swim through the tunnel metaphorically reflects Jerry’s journey to maturity. In order to successfully swim through the tunnel, Jerry must first overcome his fear of the unknown and take risks.
This is symbolic of the challenges faced during adolescence, such as peer pressure and independence. By pushing himself to his limits, Jerry ultimately discovers his inner strength and resilience. He learns that he is capable of overcoming anything life throws at him. This experience allows Jerry to grow up and become a more confident individual.
Doris Lessing’s short story “Through the Tunnel” follows Jerry, a young boy on vacation with his mother, as he comes of age. After seeing local boys swimming through a dangerous underwater tunnel, Jerry becomes fixated on the challenge. Despite his mother’s warnings, Jerry persists in trying to swim through the tunnel himself. The journey to swim through the tunnel is a metaphor for Jerry’s journey to maturity.
When the narrative begins, readers learn that Jerry, who is visiting with his mother while on vacation, is eleven years old–the age at which many young males begin to distance themselves from their parents. Jerry wishes to spend some time alone away from his mother and goes off the family beach to the “wild bay.” He runs into a gang of older boys who don’t speak English while he’s there.
They are diving into the water, and Jerry is fascinated by their skill. He becomes determined to learn to dive like they can, and begins practicing holding his breath underwater.
Jerry’s mother is not pleased with his new activity, as she fears for his safety, but Jerry is adamant about learning to dive. He eventually succeeds in holding his breath for two minutes, and is able to swim through the tunnel. When he comes out on the other side, he is congratulated by the older boys. They can see that he has been through a difficult ordeal, and they respect him for it.
The experience changes Jerry, who now feels like he has accomplished something significant. He has moved away from childish things, and has become a brave young man. The story ends with Jerry and his mother returning home, where Jerry is eager to share his new experience with his father.
Doris Lessing’s short story “Through the Tunnel” explores the rite of passage that many young boys go through as they become men. It is a coming of age story that speaks to the importance of taking risks and pushing oneself to overcome obstacles. The story is also a reminder that sometimes, in order to grow up, we need to distance ourselves from our parents and strike out on our own.
He has achieved self-reliance. Adolescents may achieve their own accomplishments when they stray away from the protection of their parents. Doris Lessing employs symbolism, similes, and imagery to convey the idea that the transition from childhood to adulthood is a struggle, with difficult patches along the way being opportunities rather than obstacles.
The short story, “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing, is about a boy named Jerry and his mother who are vacationing at a beach in England. Jerry is adventurous and wants to explore the cave that he sees from the shore. His mother is not very supportive of this idea, but eventually gives in and lets him go. Jerry begins to swim through the cave, but soon realizes that he is in over his head. He pushes himself to keep going and finally makes it to the other side where he emerges into a beautiful lagoon. This experience has changed Jerry and he is now more confident in himself.
Doris Lessing uses symbolism to represent Jerry’s journey from childhood to adulthood. The cave that Jerry swims through is a symbol for the challenges that he will face in life. The fact that he is able to make it to the other side shows that he has the strength and determination to overcome these obstacles.
Lessing also uses similes to describe the cave and Jerry’s experience. She compares the cave to “a great black mouth” and Jerry’s mother’s voice to “a thin thread of sound.” These comparisons help the reader to visualize the cave and understand what Jerry is feeling.
Finally, Lessing uses imagery to create a vivid picture of the cave and the lagoon. She describes the cave as being “filled with a greenish light” and the lagoon as being “like a jewel.” This imagery allows the reader to see the cave and lagoon through Jerry’s eyes and understand his sense of awe and wonder.
Through the use of symbolism, similes, and imagery, Doris Lessing conveys the theme that the journey from childhood to adulthood is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to grow and learn. Jerry’s experience in the cave is a metaphor for the challenges that we all face in life.
In “Through the Tunnel”, Lessing uses symbolism to illustrate Jerry’s progress. The encounter with the goggles is one example. “He was off, running down the steep path to the bay as soon as she had spent money on the goggles and he snatched them from her hand as if she were going to take possession of them,” (Lessing) This scene with the goggles demonstrates his drive and commitment in achieving his difficult goal while also demonstrating his need for protection.
The use of the goggles also relate to the idea of Jerry’s innocence as he is still a child. Another example of symbolism is when Jerry first begins his journey through the tunnel and he “felt his body go short and thick, so that he seemed to be no more than a great maggot twisting its way through rotten cheese” (Lessing). This disgusting image represents the difficult and painful journey that Jerry is going through both mentally and physically.
Jerry goes through many struggles throughout his journey in order to prove himself to be a man. In the beginning of the story, it is clear that Jerry feels inferior to other boys his age and he is desperate to find a way to fit in. This feeling of not belonging drives him to attempt the dangerous feat of swimming through the tunnel. Jerry is successful in swims through the tunnel, but the journey takes a toll on his body and mind. He emerges from the tunnel “panting and trembling and weeping with pain” (Lessing). This scene shows us that even though Jerry has completed the task, it has come at a great cost.
Jerry’s swim through the cave can be seen as a metaphor for growing up and becoming an adult. In order to become a man, Jerry must go through a difficult and painful journey. This is something that all young boys must do in order to become men. Through the use of symbolism, Lessing shows us Jerry’s emotional and physical struggle to prove himself to be a man.