Through the Tunnel
In the short story Through the Tunnel, Jerry and his mother spent their holidays near the sea. Jerry, the eleven-year-old English boy, was trying to become more independent and be accepted by the local boys so he left the safe beach where his mother stayed and turned to a more dangerous one.
The main conflict appears when Jerry was convincing himself to practice holding a longer breath and dive through a long underwater tunnel made up of rock walls in the bottom of the sea. He wanted to demonstrate that he was able to cross the barriers without the help of other people.
The overall meaning of the story is that growing up is always a harsh process but everyone has to face the challenges and go through them. This can be noticed in the sentences “…this moment when his nose had only just stopped bleeding, when his head was still sore and throbbing — this was the moment when he would try. If he did not do it now, he never would” in which Jerry suffered all the pains but still continued trying to cross the tunnel. In the photo essay, the four pictures are mainly aiming to illustrate the connections of two generations, between youth and adults. For instance, the old lady in the second picture was injected Botox to look younger.
The boy in the third picture is reading a book which gives us a sense that he is mature and knowledgeable. The written text demonstrates that youth and wisdom can coexist when Jerry thought about the dangers of his action and practiced to be well-prepared. “Supposing he turned dizzy in the tunnel? Supposing he died there, trapped?” He was conscious to the upcoming risk of losing his life so he put lots of efforts to make sure that he was able to cross the tunnel. In the photo essay, the only picture that is linked with youth and wisdom is the boy on the lower left who is reading the book. He knows that he can get more experience and knowledge from the book so it can be seen as an action of wisdom.
The purpose of the written story is to emphasize the ability of teenagers to live more independently; and the importance of the transition from a child to adult. The author wants to influence the parents to give their children more freedom for them to grow up. The purpose of the photo essay is to educate the audience to calm down with their age changing. The intended audience of both texts should be the people over 14. The young
kids that are under 14 cannot understand a story with too many vocabularies and they don’t know what the people are doing in these pictures such as injecting Botox.
One of the literary techniques that the author used in the story is the repetition of sentences. Every time when Jerry finished practicing holding the breath, his nose would bleed because he stayed under the sea for too much time. “That night, his nose bled badly…And again his nose bled at night.”
Another example of repetition in the story is when Jerry was counting the seconds he stayed in the water and trying to reach the other end of the tunnel. “He said a hundred and fifteen…A hundred and fifteen, he heard himself say inside his head.” This technique can remind the readers of the difficulty to practice holding the breath under the sea and to dive through the underwater tunnel. It also shows Jerry’s courage and determination to achieve his goal. Although this task was so hard for an eleven-year-old boy, he never gave it up even his nose bled every night and he was almost out of breath inside the tunnel.
By using this technique, the author successfully portrayed the characteristics of Jerry and connected it with the overall meaning of the text in which the process of growing up and being independent is always difficult but necessary. The photographic technique used in the photo essay is symbolism. For example, in the third picture, the boy that is reading the book symbolizes the knowledge and wisdom. In the last picture, the young adult wears the same type and combination of clothes as the older one. It symbolizes that the knowledge and customs are passing down from one generation to another.
The use of symbolism can make a tight connection between young and old and give the audience a more impressive feeling of being either a parent or a child. I personally prefer the short story since it develops the characters into a meaningful stage. I belong to the same generation of Jerry’s so I can imagine this situation if I face it. The courage and determination of Jerry is a good thing for me to learn and I would like to have more challenges and be more independent from my parents after reading this story.
The story Through the Tunnel is connected with the novel series Harry Potter written by the British author J.K. Rowling. The protagonist in the novel, Harry Potter, lost his parents when he was young. So he had to live with his uncle and experienced a harsh process of growing up like Jerry. When Harry entered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to study magic, he also tried to be accepted by other students by showing his talent in the magic field.
He met an obstacle like Jerry as well which was the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort. Through the whole series of novels, Harry was seeking the way to overcome and kill Voldemort just as Jerry who practiced holding the breath to cross the underwater tunnel. Harry and Jerry both successes at last and experienced the transition from children to adults. The text also has a connection with an issue of the real world. Many teenagers now are too dependent on their families because of the overprotection of their parents.
They always ask their parents to do everything for them and parents usually follow their instructions. However, the consequence can sometimes be very serious. Some teenagers get angry with their parents much more easily and thus form rebellions because they are inexperienced and immature.
For instance, they will try to take drugs, drink alcohol or do something else illegal. Moreover, once they enter the real society to look for a job, their lazy habit will cause the exclusion of other people. So every teenager should learn from Jerry to have a positive attitude to finish works independently and be ready to face any challenges. The parents should also provide their children with more freedom and stop overprotecting them.
Throughout the story Through the Tunnel, the author used a third person perspective to develop the characters. This method of writing a story can give background of all characters equally rather than just the protagonist as first person perspective. They can also go into more details to reflect the theme. Next, the author used characterization of Jerry very effectively because he included his personal thoughts in the story. It gave us a feeling that Jerry was very courageous and became an adult at last.
Moreover, the author used a lot of imagery to evoke our senses by describing the environment. “As he went lower, he saw that it spread among small promontories and inlets of rough, sharp rock, and the crisping, lapping surface showed stains of purple and darker blue.” This technique can bring us to that actual setting and create a mood of dangerous situation, or even filled up with fears.
The diction that the author used was appropriate to the intended audience who is over 14. The story successfully demonstrated that the youth and wisdom can coexist and illustrated the difficulty of growing up by building up the conflicts of Jerry vs. the nature and Jerry vs. himself; and by reaching the exciting climax finally when Jerry was inside the tunnel and overcame both the water and his limit. Overall, this story is an excellent literary product which is recommended for many people.