What age group is "Through the Tunnel" intended for? My 6th grader is being asked to write an argumentative paper - literary analysis on this story. Is this cognitvely appropriate for a...

What age group is "Through the Tunnel" intended for?

My 6th grader is being asked to write an argumentative paper - literary analysis on this story. Is this cognitvely appropriate for a 6th grader?

Expert Answers
Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Through the Tunnel" is appropriate for a 6th grader in that the main character, Jerry, is close to that age.  Sixth grade is the beginning of middle school when many kids really begin to feel the pulls of peer pressure and wanting to fit in.  Jerry challenges himself and trains to complete a task he sees the big kids doing.  That's the positive part of the story, and his efforts should be applauded.  However, one thing that needs to be pointed out to kids at this age is that what Jerry did, even though he trained himself slowly, was foolhardy because he did something dangerous without truly thinking about all the consequences.  Adolescents think they are indestructable, and it is important that students at that age read the story and perhaps write an alternate ending in which Jerry DOESN'T make it, or is severely injured.  Kids should then brainstorm about what Jerry did that was irresponsible. A good follow up could be a serious discussion about how young people can gain self esteem without risking their lives.