A Leap of Faith
The Risk of a Young Boy
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range of risk of comfortable inaction.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Trying to fit in can make you do crazy things; in the short story, Through the Tunnel, by Doris Lessing, Jerry nearly kills himself trying to fit in with his older peers. Throughout the story, an eleven year old boy contemplates whether or not he wants to compete with older boys who easily conquer an obstacle he can’t. “After a long time, the boy came up on the other side of a bog dark rock, letting the air out of his lungs in a sputtering gasp and a shout of triumph. Immediately the rest of them dived in.” This story takes place on a beach where anybody can jump off of a rock and touch the bottom with ease. The other side of the beach is where Jerry’s mom waits for him everyday. “Of course, Jerry. When you’ve had enough, come to the big beach. Or just go straight back to the villa, if you like.” Jerry spends everyday practicing holding his breath and taking a leap of faith attempting the risk of a lifetime.
Again and again he rose, took a big chestful of air, and went down. Again and again he groped over the surface of the rock, feeling it, almost hugging it in the desperate need to find the entrance. And then, once, while he was clinging to the black wall, his knees came up and shot his feet out forward and they met no obstacle. He had found the hole.
The theme of fitting in relates to this piece of literature heavily. Jerry never backed down, never gave up, and never let anybody know of his troubles. “He would do it if it killed him, he said defiantly to himself... his nose bled so badly that he turned dizzy and had lie limply over the big rock like a bit of seaweed, watching the thick red blood flow on to the rock and trickle slowly down to the sea.” Throughout the nosebleeds, the dizziness, and his head throbbing, Jerry intended on making in through the hole inside the underwater cave. Trying to fit in by putting yourself in harms way is never the way to go. Jerry had to learn that the hard way.