What elements emphasize Jerry's outsiderness?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jerry is different from the other boys in the story "The Tunnel" in several ways:

  • Jerry is an English boy on vacation with his mother at a beach which is most likely on the coast of Africa.
  • Jerry runs straight into the water when he arrives at the beach with his swim suit on
  • He swims to a cape where there are native boys "stripping off their clothes."
  • Unlike Jerry, they are a "smooth dark brown" and they speak a language Jerry does not understand.
  • These boys are older than Jerry and are not with any parent
  • These bigger boys are better swimmers than Jerry
  • They are able to swim through a tunnel under the water and come up on the far side of a barrier rock.
  • They find Jerry's antics childish: He shouts common greetings in French; then, he wiggles his ears with his fingers. 
  • The boys reject Jerry and swim back to the shore without looking at him.
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