English I, Period 5
3 December 2012
Keeping Your Head in It
Doris Lessing’s short story, “Through the Tunnel” teaches the reader that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything. The universal theme is revealed through the dynamic struggle of the protagonist and the vivid imagery of the setting. In the beginning of the story, Jerry meets the native boys, who show him the tunnel. The native boys see one of the older boys swim deep under the water and come up on the other side of a big rock. That started a whole rally and soon all the native boys were diving under the water and swimming through the tunnel. Jerry tries to dive down with the boys but he simply cannot hold his breath that long. “And now, in a panic of failure, he yelled up, in English, ‘Look at me! Look!’ and he began splashing and kicking in the water like a foolish dog.”(97). The story continues, and Jerry sets a goal to swim through the tunnel by the end of the summer. Jerry feels left out when the native boys ditched him because he couldn’t swim through the tunnel. The natives thought Jerry was acting like a child. The struggle Jerry had to go through to learn to hold his breath was very hard but he stuck to it and showed determination. He trained everyday holding his breath until his nose started to bleed at times. Nothing ever set him back because of his drive and his undying determination. During this training process, Jerry also learned to be more independent and less dependent on his mother. He becomes more grown up, and less like a little boy who needs his mother to tell him what he needs to. He makes the decision to swim through the tunnel on his own and knows that his accomplishment will be for him and no one else. It is very difficult to put your mind to something and not lose faith, especially when the deed you’re doing is so life threatening, that if you make one wrong move the...
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