What does Jerry do that makes the native boys accept him in "Through the Tunnel"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An excellent swimmer, Jerry is able to dive well, too. The native boys, who have been diving off the rocks in the wild bay themselves, accept and like Jerry when they see him dive. 

When Jerry accompanies his mother to the beach they frequented on past vacations, he looks longingly off at a distant bay that has rather large rocks. Noticing that he yearns to go to the distant beach, his mother asks him if he wants to go somewhere else, but Jerry is afraid to ask. The next day, Jerry tells her he wants to go to the wild beach. Worried she has been mothering him too much, Jerry's mom replies,

Of course, Jerry. When you’ve had enough, come to the big beach. Or just go straight back to the villa, if you like.

Jerry swims out to the wild bay, and he makes his way down a steep descent. He then sees the native boys, who are diving off the rocks. They call to Jerry, but when he does not understand their language, they ignore him. Jerry is undeterred; he swims around and he, too, climbs onto the rocks. 

They were big boys, men, to Jerry. He dived, and they watched him; and when he swam around to take his place, they made way for him. He felt he was accepted and he dived again, carefully, proud of himself.

Jerry is very pleased the other boys are impressed with his diving and accept him.

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Through the Tunnel

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