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Through the Tunnel
Transcript of Through the Tunnel
Analysis of Plot
Exposition: Jerry, an 11 year old boy, and his mother go to the beach for a vacation. He wants to make friends, so he tries to impress a group of boys who are able to swim through an underwater tunnel. Even though he knows he could drown, he still tries swimming through it.
Conflict: Jerry has to prove to himself that he can swim through the tunnel.
Rising Action: Jerry sees the boys diving into the water and swimming through the tunnel and tries to find it himself, but fails.
Climax: The climax of the story is when Jerry is finally able to hold his breath for long enough and swims through the tunnel, but begins bleeding from his nose half way through.
Resolution: The resolution is when Jerry accomplishes swimming through the tunnel and realizes it that was his change from childhood to adulthood.
Jerry is a daring 11 year old boy. In the beginning of the story, he is timid and a bit of a momma's boy, but he finds the courage to ask his worry-some mom if he can swim at a different spot on the beach than where his mom is. Towards the end of the story he proves himself to himself by swimming through the sea tunnel and accomplishing his goal. Jerry transforms from a shy boy hiding behind his mother to a young man who can do whatever he sets his mind to.
He is a dynamic character, since he changes from a timid little boy, to a brave young man. He becomes brave and courageous when he is able to accomplish his great feat of swimming through the tunnel. He is able to prove to his mom, even though she was unable to see his accomplishment, how much of a "big boy" that he can be, and even though he is only eleven, she doesn't need to watch over him as much as she had to before.
Point of View, Setting, Mood and Tone
Literary Elements - 1
Imagery. Imagery is used in "Through the Tunnel" to paint vivid and descriptive scenes in an effort to enhance the reader's experience of the story. The setting lends itself to description - days spent lounging on a sunny beach, the jagged and rocky cliffs surrounding a nearby bay, the blue water and white sands that surround both. The author creates images with color,
"...he saw an edge of white surf and the shallow, luminous movement of water over white sand, and, beyond that, a solid, heavy blue".
She also uses movement,
"water surged into his mouth; he choked, sank, came up"
, and taste,
"he did not know whether it was blood or salt water he tasted"
. These visualizations allow the reader to be totally immersed in the story and to interact with and feel for Jerry as he fights to succeed in his challenge.
Simile. The author uses simile in this story to enhance her descriptions and pull the reader into the story. For example, as Jerry is trying to win the older boys' attention, he
"...feels the pleading grin on his face like a scar that he could never remove".
The grin is compared to a scar - which Jerry considers a mark of failure. Also, when the author describes Jerry as
"...splashing and kicking in the water like a foolish dog"
, and how he
"lies limply over the big rock like a bit of seaweed"
we see Jerry through his own eyes. Jerry believes that he is not good enough to keep up with the older boys and compares himself to a dog or a bit of seaweed, and he is full of shame.
Jerry's mother's thoughts
early on in the story create a powerful sense of foreshadowing. She is trying to allow Jerry the freedom he needs as he is growing up, and her
worrying nature and anxiousness
gives the reader no confidence that things will turn out okay For example, she thinks "Of course he's old enough to be safe without me", and "Have I been keeping him too close?". Because of these thoughts, we are immediately placed on the edge of our seats and are almost positive that
something bad is going to happen to Jerry.
Symbolism. Jerry decides to challenge himself by holding his breath long enough to swim through an undersea tunnel.
The tunnel is a symbol of a passage for Jerry
. It symbolizes his passage from being a boy to an adult, from being a loner
Literary Elements - 2
to a part of a group, from living a life of safety in his mom's care to living a life of adventure and independent decisions.
The jagged, wild, rough, sharp rocks that make up the cliffs that surround the bay are symbols of the rocky twists and turns that life can take
- that life is not an easy journey.
His mother's white, naked arm is a symbol of weakness.
She is indecisive, fearful and anxious. It is obvious that Jerry's concern for his mother is overwhelming, and he almost decides to forego his adventures because of his protectiveness for her.
Connotation. The title of the story,
"Through the Tunnel"
connotes a passage, a making-it-to-the-other-side kind of experience that results in
life lesson learned
. Jerry challenges himself to get through the undersea tunnel. He learns that he is capable of courage and the necessary determination it takes to achieve a goal. Jerry's loneliness makes him crave acceptance, and ultimately he needs to prove to himself that he can make it through the tunnel just like the older boys.
Bildungsroman. This story is a bildungsroman because it
shows Jerry maturing and growing
. Conquering his goal of swimming through the tunnel is a large step towards manhood, and Jerry becomes more independent.
Point of View:
Third person limited
narrative, because the narrator reveals the thoughts of Jerry, and his mom, but not the group of local boys. A narrator tells the story about Jerry, an eleven year old boy, who is vacationing with his mother. Jerry's behavior and the choices and decisions he comes to make impact the outcome of the story.
Setting: The story takes place during a
which is spent at a
destination in a foreign place. The beach, which Jerry is very familiar with, is adjacent to a wild and rocky
. The bay, with its mysterious and dangerous appearance, intrigues Jerry. Jerry's sense of adventure pulls him to investigate.
Conflict and tension.
Jerry is continuously struggling with his decisions. He wants to investigate the bay, but he is worried about leaving his mother alone. In fact, he only descends down the steep cliff to the bay "once he saw that his mother had gained her beach". He wants to keep up with the big boys as he swims in the bay, but he knows that he is too small and inexperienced, and cries piteously as he understands he will never be a part of their group. He is terrified of swimming through the tunnel and has numerous bloody noses, but forces himself to rise to and complete his challenge.
Serious and formal.
The author does not use humor, or any means of playfulness to lighten the subject matter. Jerry is determined to succeed, and the author heightens the formality and seriousness of the situations she describes by using very short sentences and very descriptive imagery. For example, "The water paled. Victory filled him. His lungs were beginning to hurt. A few more strokes and he would be out. He was counting wildly... He felt he was dying. He was no longer quite conscious." The short sentences seem to mimic shortness of breath, the strong beating of the heart, and the frightening possibility of death.
Jerry's Mom is a very kind lady who is
always worrying about Jerry. Since she has been widowed, she might have a feeling that she needs to protect Jerry more, since he is the only family member that she has left living with her. She constantly has to remind herself to give him his space. When they are on their way to the beach and Jerry asks if he can go to a different spot than she will be at, she hesitates, but then says yes. At the end of the story when Jerry has proven himself, she feels more comfortable about letting him go about and do his own thing, even though she did not see his accomplishment.
Jerry's mom is also a dynamic character, even though we don't hear much about her during the story line. She becomes a more trustful and worry-some mother and can go about her day with out needing to check on her son to make sure he is ok. She still will be worrying about her little boy, but since he has proven himself, she no longer needs to be as frightened of loosing him as she was before he swam through the tunnel.
Recommendation and Opinion
Our group was not very fond of this story, and found it very dull. We as a whole would not recommend it to anyone. We thought that the events in the story were not as great as they could have been and that affected the story.
A possible theme for Through The Tunnel could be attaining self respect through personal determination. Jerry felt as if it were his duty to swim through the tunnel and trained himself to be able to hold his breath for longer.
A second theme could be advancing from childhood to adolescence. At the beginning of the story Jerry spends time with his mother at the safe beach, but as the story progresses he stops spending time with her and starts going to the bay by himself.
Group 2 - Ellen, Taryn, and Guillermo