In Through the Tunnel, why is it so important to Jerry to be with the boys on the wild beach?
Jerry's feelings about the boys?
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The boys on the wild beach are somewhat older and are natives to this vacation spot. Jerry is an outsider who wants to be accepted by the boys represent maturity and friendship to him. These are things that Jerry, who is alone with his mother, lacks. When the boys rebuff him by swimming through the tunnel, Jerry takes this as a challenge. Instead of crying to his mother, Jerry bravely conditions his body until he, too, can go through the tunnel. This marks the beginning of maturity for the young boy. He realizes that he can do what the other boys can do and suddenly, their friendship isn't really all that important. He has faced and challenge and overcome a challenge without help from his mother or anyone else. This mark of maturity and independence is what Jerry needs in order to continue his journey into adulthood.
An interesting bit of information is found in his mother's concerns. Early in the text, she expresses he worries that perhaps she has been too overprotective with Jerry and wonders if she should ease up a bit. This shows the reader another reason why being accepted by the boys may be important to Jerry; if he is overprotected and sheltered it is possible that he does lack the maturity to be with these older boys, not to mention the possibility that this overprotectiveness may even limit his ability to have many friends at home, considering that he does not mention any.
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