Through the Tunnel

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Through the Tunnel Essay

“Archetypal stories occur in many cultures making the long journey home, contemplating the impossible” task or outwitting the formidable enemy are all archetypal plots (Willhelm R2). One of the most universal archetypal patterns in every human beings life experiences is the adolescent struggle for adulthood. In literature, this struggle for adulthood takes the form of a journey or quest. In the story “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing, one can see powerful recreation of this journey to adulthood. As Natalie Babbot points out, the path the protagonist follows on this journey is, “Mainly unalterable and inescapable” (Babbot 27). The protagonists journey through the tunnel in Lessings story follows “The standard half of the mythological adventure of the hero separation, initiation, return” (27). Separation is the starting point of a protagonists journey, these are the elements that lead the protagonist toward an independent life. Jerry’s mother symbolizes what’s keeping him from growing up, along with the beach which symbolizes the known world. In a story, a protagonist will find a way out of the known world going off on his own, this is his call to adventure. In “Through the Tunnel,” Jerry’s safety zone is the beach because it resembles his mothers grip on his life, so Jerry leaves his safety zone to go swimming out by the promontories ( ). The herald is the figure or symbol that summons the hero to cross the threshold. In the story, the kids laughter encourages Jerry to cross the threshold ( ). Jerry’s curiosity of what the kids were doing brought him to the next stage of his journey. This brought him to the dangers of the known world. He started to figure out how to solve problems on his own by using nature judgment and the new skills that he gained. A character will run into difficult challenges to overcome. The obstacle the character faces could be as simple as cooking a recipe or as dangerous as battleing fierce...
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