Through the Tunnel Questions and Answers
by Doris Lessing

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What are the main events in "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing?  

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The main plot points of Doris Lessing's "Through the Tunnel" follow:

  1. An English boy (Jerry)and his mother arrive on a beach for vacation.
  2. The boy asks for and receives his mother's permission to go to a wild section of the beach, a section that is unsupervised and not filled with the usual tourists.
  3. The boy sees a group of older, local boys swimming and diving and awkwardly joins them.
  4. After a few minutes, the older boys dive into the water and surface on the other side of a big rock.  Jerry concludes that there is a tunnel through the big rock, but he does not know where it is.  Feeling left out, he childishly spashes and...

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mkcapen1 | Student

In the short story "Through the Tunnel" a young boy, Jerry, and his mother are visiting a beach in another country.  Some significant events in the short story are as follows.  Jerry sees a group of boys native to the country.  He wants to socialize with them.  He is invited to join them when one waves to him.  He wants acceptance in this group of older boys, but there is a language barrier. 

The boys go on with their play, but Jerry is still an outsider in the group.  Jerry joins the boys who dive from a high rock into the water, but one disappears.  He panics and jumps into the water.  He realizes that the boy has slipped into some other place under the water.  When other boys do the same and then come back he does not know what is going on.  This is important because it makes him curious.

He is determined to swim through the tunnel to find out where the boys had gone before.  He gets some goggles and practices holding his breath underwater.  He impulsively goes through the tunnel.  His journey in the tunnel is important because it it very difficult and he thinks he will drown.

He reaches the other side.  He is exhausted and does not even care what is going on.  He just wants to be able to make it back to his mother. He makes it back and the experience has been a very important one for Jerry.  He has proven to himself that he could do it.  However, upon telling his mother, her response is simple, and she accidently minimizes the importance of his quest. She just tells him:

"Don't over do it."