What were the ethical issues that influenced the problem of the story "Through the Tunnel?"

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume you are referring to this excellent short story by Doris Lessing, which deals with the coming of age initiation that a young boy arranges for himself. I guess one of the key ethical issues that this short story raises is the role of initiation rites and their importance of marking the movement of a child to an adult. One of the problems in the West, some critics argue, is that we do not have any initiation rites in the same way as other cultures and thus we fail to mark the movement from child to adult which results in a confusion of identity and role within our culture for teenagers.

Consider the Hopi, who are American Indians from Arizona. In a traditional Hopi initiation, boys must sit almost motionless for four days with their knees touching their chins. When they emerge from this foetal position, they are reborn as men. Jerry, in this story, chooses his own initiation ritual to indicate his passing from childhood to adulthood, and thus Lessing raises this issues through her story.

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Through the Tunnel

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