Through The Tunnel Doris Lessing Analysis

Decent Essays
Rocks are universal symbols of strength and stability, but a small percentile of people would disagree. Doris Lessing would fit into the few, as rocks in her short story, “Through the Tunnel”, are associated with modifications and instability. The main character, Jerry’s initial goal is to travel through a tunnel in order to fit in with the older and cooler kids. Throughout his journey, he encounters or utilises rocks in three different instances. He uses rocks to weigh himself down during training, he finds rocks scattered across the white ocean floor, and he is met with sharp rocks as he travels through the tunnel. Doris Lessing’s message of not letting society change oneself is illustrated through Jerry’s usage of rocks to accomplish certain…show more content…
During Jerry’s training process, he “let himself down into the water with another big stone in his arms, so he could lie effortlessly at the bottom of the sea” (Lessing, 286-288). In the beginning of the story, Jerry was essentially being dragged down by the big boys, as he worked desperately to fit in. Similar occurrences happen in the real world, as many are concerned with fitting in and changing themselves to fit the molds, often times lowering their morals. Furthermore, thoughts of fitting in may consume an individual. Jerry’s thoughts consumed him, as “to be with [the big boys, which] was a craving that filled his whole body” (Lessing, 94-95). The obsession with conforming drags down an individual, as all Jerry could think about was the older, cooler boys. After Jerry gets weighed down by the rock for almost a minute, his chest “was hurting” (Lessing, 291). Identically, when one tries to conform to society, after a while, they begin to hurt. Doris Lessing uses the negative connotation around this rock to show the pain one may feel , and to show how one should be themselves, not what society or the “big boys”…show more content…
Jerry describes these rocks as “sharp and pained his back” (Lessing 372-373). The sharpness and pain associated with the rocks could be related to Jerry’s initial goal to fit in with the cool, big boys, and in the process, had to alter himself. He didn’t feel himself which could be related to pain. Additionally, being molded to fit someone else’s standards can be a painful process. As he continues swimming through the tunnel, he “was being continually pressed against the sharp roof” (Lessing, 383-384). Being continually pressed is representative of society’s relentlessness and stubbornness. To escape this pressure takes a strong individual, and after one is comfortable with themselves, they can accomplish great things. Jerry was able to grow into his own self and use self motivation to accomplish a great task, going through the tunnel. Lessing uses the negative connotation around the sharpness of the rocks to convey her message that conformity is harmful and painful, an atrocious thing to go
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