Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing

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Why is it so important for Jerry to swim through the tunnel?

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Like many kids of his age, Jerry wants to be able to do whatever the older boys do. In fact, he views being able to swim through the tunnel in the huge rock as a rite of passage.

Initially, for Jerry "to be with them, of them, was a craving that filled his whole body." He yearns for acceptance by the older boys. At first, when the others wave and smile at him, Jerry is content because the group seems to have accepted him. However, when they dive and come up on the other side of a dark rock, Jerry again senses alienation.

Jerry at first feels accepted, but when the older boys swim through the great rock, a feat that Jerry cannot do, he feels their rejection since he recognizes that they perceive him as juvenile. The boys' ability to hold their breath and swim through the...

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