Through the tunnel

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Through the Tunnel In Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing, an eleven-year-old English boy is on vacation at an exotic beach. Getting bored with the little kid's beach, he goes to swim at a deserted, more rocky shore. He spots some older, more mature, and more developed native boys diving into the ocean and he joins them in an effort to fit in. However, the older boys ignore him and eventually abandon him. He discovers after diving into the sea, they swim through a tunnel in the rocks and eventually emerge on the other side. As the determined boy practices the skills needed to swim through the tunnel, he makes the journey from childhood to manhood.

This story uses the tunnel to represent a passageway from one location to another completely different location. The Chunnel, a tunnel that was constructed from northern France to England, goes completely under the English Channel. When people board the train in one country, they soon emerge in a totally different country with different customs and beliefs. In the story, the boy begins on one side of the tunnel with all of his fears and beliefs of a child. However, as he improves his swimming skills, he develops the confidence to swim through the tunnel. He exits this tunnel with new beliefs. He is now a man.

The story uses the tunnel to represent burdens or challenges needed to achieve some goal. In the story, it was necessary to make safe passage through the tunnel. The young boy had to control his breathing. He had to hold his breath. He had to adjust to the water's pressure. Most of all, he had to control his fear with a sense of confidence. Without control of his fear e would surely parish under the water. Like the Chunnel, much hard work was needed. How did the builders keep the ocean crushing the structure as The Chunnel was built? The story uses the darkness to represent the fear of the unknown. When the young boy finally thinks he is ready to make his way through the tunnel, he doesn't even know where it leads or how far it actually is. All he knows is that he must get through it. As he goes through the tunnel, its dark and he's scared that the top of it might fall on him, crushing him in a place where nobody will find him. Again with the Chunnel, when someone rides it for the first time, they cant help but think, "what if this tunnel collapses?" With all of the water on top of the tunnel makes the thought even scarier for first-timers.

In the story Through the Tunnel the author uses a tunnel several ways to symbolize a boy's journey from childhood to becoming a man. First, the boy compares himself to some older native boys as they swim in the ocean together. He dislikes how childish he appears to them. He is determined to develop the underwater skills required to complete the arduous task of swimming through the under water tunnel as the natives have done. He under goes many trials, headaches, and heartaches but finally accomplishes his goal. Swimming through the tunnel, he emerges triumphantly on the other side with the pride of a man.