Why does Jerry feel it unbearable to let his mother go to the beach by herself in "Through the Tunnel"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jerry feels it was unbearable to let his mother go to the beach by herself because his mother is overprotective, and Jerry desperately wants to get independent from her.  He also seeks the companionship of boys his age.

When his mother let him go, he “he almost ran after her” (p. 1).  He was not sure he wanted to be independent of her, and she was not sure he should be. 

As for Jerry, once he saw that his mother had gained her beach, he began the steep descent to the bay. (p. 1)

He desperately wants to distance himself from his mother, but at the same time desperately wants her.  The rocks are “a wild-looking place” and his mother is concerned, but Jerry wants to go because he wants to explore on his own and take risks.

In the end, Jerry does meet other boys, but the boys ignore him and desert him.  Yet when he returns to his mother, he brags about his successful journey.