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Interestingly, this short story was first published in 1955, so it is set quite soon after the Second World War. This could explain the apparent lack of a father figure during the story and the way that Jerry's mother is so concerned for him and also why Jerry is so concerned for her.
The story as a whole takes place over 11 days during a holiday in France by a beach. You can count the days if you go through the story carefully, which details how many days Jerry took practicing holding his breath and then finally pinpoints the day of the important journey Jerry makes through the tunnel - "On the day before they left, he would do it."
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