Reading response: Through the Tunnel
Jerry makes dangerous decisions that serve to teach him important lessons. “Through the Tunnel”, a short story written by Doris Lessing, talks about growing up through making mistakes. The author shows how through attempting a dangerous stunt and nearly dying in the attempt, this boy learns perseverance and the payoff of hard work. While doing this, he also becomes more cautious and less likely to make the same mistakes he makes in the story later in his life. Jerry, an eleven year old boy, is on a vacation with his widowed mother at a beach when he decides to go talk to another group of local boys. He discovers he does not speak the same language, though they seem friendly, so he continues playing near them on some rocks. Once he sees the boys dive into the water from a cliff, he follows and waits his turn to dive a few times. After the boys demonstrate their endurance by swimming underwater through a tunnel near the dive point, Jerry becomes obsessed with going through the tunnel and proving himself. He trains for days, begs his mother for the equipment he needs, and patiently readies for his attempt. While he was bringing his lung capacity up, “A curious, most unchildlike persistence, a controlled impatience, made him wait [to make the dive].” The story concludes with his attempt, and its aftermath. For me, the writing piece taught me that you can mature from making big mistakes, in multiple ways. The boy, who previously seems impatient and childlike, learns to wait and build slowly up to his goals. This spoke to me, because I’ve planned and waited to do stupid things in the past, and learned from them. After completing his attempt, he loses all enthusiasm for doing it again, as he has learned that it is dangerous and pointless. Therefore, through making the attempt he has learned not only to not do it again, but also several lessons on patience and persistence. “Through the Tunnel” teaches an important lesson about learning from mistakes, and presents a fun, exciting story all the while.