Through the Tunnel Questions and Answers
by Doris Lessing

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In Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing, what best describes Jerry's place among the boys swimming from the rocks?

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The part which best describes Jerry's place among the boys is the following:

They shouted cheerful greetings at him; and then, as he preserved his nervous, uncomprehending smile, they understood that he was a foreigner strayed from his own beach, and they proceeded to forget him.

One of the boys had smiled and waved at him which encouraged Jerry to join them. It is clear, initially, that they were keen to welcome him because their greetings were 'cheerful.' This demeanour changed, however, when he could not understand what they were saying but he continued smiling which, to them, must have seemed quite foolish. These actions convinced them that he was an outsider who had wandered off from where he was supposed to be.

'...they proceeded to forget him' powerfully indicates how dismissive these boys were of him. He was not their company at all. Even in their midst, he was not someone to be remembered. He might as well have been part of the landscape. Jerry had not made any kind of impact...

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