Through the Tunnel

Through The Tunnel In this story, Through The Tunnel, there are three settings that all symbolize something different. The safe beach symbolized him still being a child. On the safe beach, his mother was there to protect and be there for him. The wild beach was where Jerry wanted to go. It was taking a step out into the world to him. He wanted to be free and become a man. The journey through the tunnel symbolized Jerry going from a child to an adult.

He challenged himself to go through the tunnel so he would feel accomplished and finally be a man, something his mother would never understand. Other than the settings, there are many different symbols in the story that help readers figure out the meaning of the whole story. One symbol from this story would be darkness. When Lessing writes, “He struggled on in the darkness,” the darkness symbolizes Jerry’s lack of knowledge or the fear of the unknown.

He doesn’t actually know how far the tunnel will go or if it will become narrow. Another symbol from this story would be light. While Jerry was swimming through the tunnel he saw light coming in through a crack. That symbolizes that he is really close to becoming a man. The big meaning of Jerry making it through the tunnel is the journey from boyhood to manhood. When Jerry first discovers the tunnel he can swim through it like the other boys, therefore, becoming a man. Jerry practices holding his breath over and over.

Even though holding his breath for a long time caused him physical pain, Jerry still tells himself that he will overcome it and accomplish his goal. During the time it took him to go through the tunnel, Lessing writes that Jerry is panicking because he thinks he might not make it out of the tunnel. This shows that Jerry was somewhat scared to become a man. When Jerry finally comes out of the tunnel on the other side, he feels like he has become independent and mature. He finally has become the man that he wanted to be. The tunnel is a powerful symbol because it shows rebirth.

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