The story, Through the tunnel, is about a boy named Jerry and is 11 years old. In this story, Jerry goes to the beach with his mother on vacation.

In this story, Jerry tries to impress several foreign boys by attempting to swim through a tunnel. Jerry is a calm and collected person; he is not one who would raise his voice or yell.

He likes to meet new people and to Jerry, this is the perfect opportunity. However, Jerry is a person who likes to push himself to the limits and enjoys a challenge. With these qualities, Jerry is easy to get along with.

When Jerry sees the foreign boys swimming, he decides to ask them if he can swim with them. But Jerry realizes that the boys don’t speak his language but tries to talk to them in French.

Without communication, Jerry has to rely on body language and actions. When Jerry sees the boys swimming in the water below and then pop out on top of the rocks, he decides to check it out and see what is down there.

He saw a black tunnel which was very dark and ominous. As Jerry tries to swim through it, he becomes afraid and decides to go back. As he came up for air he saw the boys snickering at him and Jerry decided he must do this to impress the boys and have them like him. So he asked his mother to buy him some goggles so that he could swim.

After the boys would leave in the afternoon, Jerry would stay down there and work on his breathing and concentrating on going through the tunnel. When it’s Jerry’s last day of vacation he says to himself that it is the last day to do this. To prepare himself he sat in front of the clock to see how long he could hold his breath. As he goes through the tunnel, his life flashes before his eyes.

One might say the tunnel was a journey of maturity. The theme of this story is individualism. Jerry takes a journey through the tunnel, entering reliant and feeble, but when he exits he is free. It is about a personal journey and struggles to find himself and set himself apart.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Doris Lessing’s Through the Tunnel: Summary," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,

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5 years ago

identify a piece of background information from either the New York Times article “Doris Lessing Wins Nobel Prize in Literature” or the “Doris Lessing” biographical video that is helpful in understanding the context of “Through the Tunnel.” Explain how the information is helpful.

Suleikha Mohamed
Suleikha Mohamed
5 years ago

really great

6 years ago

This story is inspiring. I want to do this some day.

7 years ago

I feel like this summary could have been worded a bit better. There were a few minor details I believe are incorrect, but other than that this is an okay summary. I recommend just reading the short story as it is not that long or difficult to comprehend.

Hugh M.
Hugh M.
8 years ago

Not enough details.