Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing

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What does Jerry accomplish by swimming through the tunnel in the story "Through the Tunnel"?  

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Kathryn Draney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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  • By swimming through the tunnel, Jerry completes a rite of passage. He also realizes that even though he can do what the big boys can, he still wants to go home and spend time with his mother.

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Jerry completes a rite of passage by successfully swimming through the underwater tunnel.

When the English boy Jerry, who is on holiday with his mother, first leaves her and goes to the bay, he swims out to where rocks are "like discolored monsters under the surface," and he finds himself out in the real sea. Then, he swims back to a cape with "a loose scatter of rocks" where some older boys, native to the coast, run.

To be with them, of them, was a craving that filled his whole body.

When one of them smiles and waves, Jerry swims in and out of the rocks with them. But, when they realize that he is a foreigner and does not understand them, they ignore him. Still, they part for him to dive with them. Shortly after this, the largest boy dives and does not soon reappear. Worried that something has...

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