Through the Tunnel Questions and Answers
by Doris Lessing

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What are conflicts in "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing?

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In this coming-of-age short story entitled "Through the Tunnel," there are internal and external conflicts in the main character, named Jerry, and there are internal conflicts in his mother.

An English eleven-year-old and his mother are on holiday at what is probably Southern Rhodesia in South Africa, a British colony (now Zimbabwe) and a spot where the author, Doris Lessing, vacationed in her youth. A widow, Jerry's mother worries that she is too protective. So, when her son indicates that he wishes to explore the rocks at another location from their "usual beach," she ponders his request with some inner conflict:

Of course, he's old enough to be safe without me. Have I been keeping him too close? He mustn't feel he ought to be with me. I must be careful.

Jerry's mother allows him to go, but she worries as she walks to the usual beach alone. After some time, Jerry returns to the villa to wait for his mother. When she enters, a "pant[ing], defiant, and beseeching" Jerry blurts out, "I want...

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