Control In John Steinbeck's 'Through The Tunnel'

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“Through the Tunnel” illustrates the importance of having control in life but still utilizing a “backup” plan in times of need. Jerry began as a child that was dependent on his mother but, as the story built itself, forced his mother to give him a leash. Letting him go to the bay alone was an idea that the mother resented, but saw it as necessary for him in this time of shift from dependence to independence. These thoughts appear the most evident after the mother thinks, “...he’s old enough to be safe without me. Have I been keeping him too close?...I must be careful.” (page 243). After discovering the tunnel and deciding he wanted to venture through it, Jerry started his “training” (holding his breath) to accomplish the unknown feat. He took the challenge into his own hands, he controlled it. Although having total control is a good lesson to learn, having a back plan or person can come in handy in times of need. The rocks were a dangerous place, the boys and Jerry could have cut themselves, they could have hit their heads on a rock, or they could have drowned. While at those rocks, Jerry glanced back at the “kid” beach and wondered where his mother was at. Showing this through the text made it appear as if Jerry was making sure he had a place to go to for comfort even though he was all out trying to become an adult. On page 244, “...he floated on the buoyant surface and looked for his mother. There she was…” this idea showed that he was looking for his mother and this occurred again on page 246, “...he swam out to where he could see his mother. Yes, she was still there…”. Both of these quotes from the story showed the importance of being reassured that his “backup” plan (his mom) was always there where he could reach her. A recurring theme throughout the story can consist of being in control of your actions and your life, but also being reassured and knowing that someone will be there for help if you need

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