Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing

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In "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing, how does the plot relate to the theme?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are several themes in the story that are related to the plot itself.  Plot usually drives the theme; it is the text of thematic content.  One theme in this story is that of loneliness and alienation.  To emphasize this theme, Lessing has a character in-between childhood and adulthood, who is fatherless, with a polite but tense relationship with his mother.  She emphasizes his loneliness when he sees the foreign boys swimming and to be playing with them is a "craving that fill[s] his whole body."  He wants companionship so badly, and we see that through the other boys.  But, he doesn't seek that belonging with his mother, he looks elsewhere, and when the boys leave him, he is prompted to take on the tunnel.

Another theme is the idea of rites of passage; boys going through tests and challenges that prove they are ready to become an adult, a man, and leave childhood behind.  The plot has Jerry first of all leaving the safe beach to explore-taking...

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