All Quiet on the Western Front Video Essay
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Literary Analysis Paragraph on Short Story


You are Nothing Without It 




Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.


-Maya Angelou



       You can have everything but be nothing without motivation, and it was in the short story, “Through the Tunnel”, by Doris Lessing, where Jerry used his tenacity and dedication to overcome a task that seemed to be a near impossible. Jerry goes through a lot while trying to complete an undertaking that seems almost impossible to follow through on, “He cried openly, fists in his eyes. There was no one to see him, and he cried himself out,” but even through all of that he fought on. Jerry may not have the same physical stature as the other local boys, but what he has is an undying motivation to complete the task at hand.

Jerry and his widowed mother—who are on vacation—are in a foreign country walking to the beach. They are familiar with the area, for they have been there several times. On their way to the beach something catches Paul’s eyes, “I’d like to go and have a look at those rocks down there.” Paul is immediately enticed. At the rocks he sees a bunch of local boys having loads of fun, and then the biggest of the boys jump. However, something odd happens. “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” Paul is determined, yet terrified to complete the same amazing feat this boy has just accomplished. Paul works incredibly hard to hold his breath, so that he can make it through the underwater tunnel without running out of breath, “That night, his nose bled badly. For hours he had been under water, learning to hold his breath, and now he felt weak and dizzy.” Still Paul is determined to make it through the tunnel, and then on his last day he attempts to make it through. There’s no going back now:


He drifted to the surface, his face turned up to the air. He was gasping like a fish. He felt he would sink now and drown; he could not swim the few feet back to the rock. Then he was clutching it and pulling himself up on to it. He lay face down, gasping. He could see nothing but a red­veined, clotted dark. His eyes must have burst, he thought; they were full of blood. He tore off his goggles and gout of blood went into the sea.


It was Jerry’s determination that made his age and physical stature unimportant; it was Jerry’s determination that allowed him to hold his breath for so long; it was Jerry’s determination that helped him make it through the tunnel.

After completing this task, Jimmy feels relieved. He is no longer in anguish. You can have everything in life, Money, intelligence or athleticism, but without determination what are you? You are nothing, determination is what makes one successful. That is why Jerry succeed, he never let up.