The Tiger in the Tunnel

by Ruskin Bond
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What is the rising action in "The Tiger in the Tunnel"?

In "The Tiger in the Tunnel," the rising action begins as Baldeo leaves the family hut to go to his job as a railway watchman. It includes his walk in the cold darkness, the closing in of the hills on either side, his apprehension about wild beasts and reassurance of the ax he carries, animal sounds in the jungle, relighting the signal lamp, and his realization that a tiger is near when he wakes from a nap.

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The rising action in a story takes place after the exposition, which introduces the situation. Through the rising action, tension gradually increases until the climax. In the short story "The Tiger in the Tunnel" by Ruskin Bond, we first encounter the boy Tembu and his father, Baldeo, as Baldeo rises in the cold night to go out for his job as a railway watchman. We learn that he has taken this job to supplement the income from the family farm. He has to walk three miles to the railroad shed, check that there are no obstructions in a tunnel, and then signal trains so that they can go through safely. Tembu asks to come along, but Baldeo urges him to stay in the hut.

The rising action begins as Baldeo lights his lamp and steps out of the hut into the cold and darkness. He walks along the rails, holding his shawl around him, as he worries about wild animals he might come across. His anxiety increases as hills close in on either side. He remembers stories about animals that inhabit this area, especially a dangerous man-eating tiger. For reassurance he remembers the ax that he always carries. His father had made it and then passed it on to him. He considers it a formidable weapon against attacking animals.

The rising action continues as he reaches the tunnel and realizes that the signal light has gone out. He is concerned that the oil might be finished and that he will have to go to the watchman's shed for more. He finds that there is enough oil, though, and fumbles for matches to light the lamp. He hears the sounds of animals, which increases his anxiety. As he waits for the train, which is late, he dozes off. When he awakens, he realizes the tiger is nearby. Baldeo's awakening is the end of the rising action, because his battle with the tiger is the climax of the story.

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