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“Tunnel” by Sarah Ellis

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 682
  • Category: Character

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“Tunnel” Essay Sarah Ellis’ main character, Ken, in her short story intitled “Tunnel” is a study of a reliable, responsible, and brave young teenager. Ellis’ characterization of Ken reveals his teen life, and also provides insight with regards to his later life, and compliments upon his change in attitude towards life, from being wild and adventurous to having a summer job as a babysitter. Throughout the story the characterization of Ken is detailed and clear.

Not all teens are responsible, but some are. In this case, Ken is a very responsible teen. “I sometimes take care of my cousin” pg. 44. Ken is a very responsible young man who is a baby-sitter. It can be seen that he is a responsible character for the duration of the story. He is always alert and watching out for the children he is tending to, “Ib walks along the rail, holding my hand” pg. 46. He is a very aware person, “I grab her. ‘Hey! Hold it…”you” can’t go…” pg. 47. He is very trustworthy and reliable. He sometimes even appears to be almost overly protective while looking after young children.

People learn to face their fears and become braver. On certain ocassions it is more difficult than others, “By this time I had peed my pants” pg. 47. In Sarah Ellis’ short story, Ken faces a problem that involves great amounts of fear and bravery. “She slipped. She knocked her head. Child drowns in four inches of bath water…. I have to go in” pg. 48. He finds it difficult to cope with this problem, though it is a matter of great importance and he focuses and tries his best to avoid these fears and find the strength within himself. “I happen to suffer from claustrophobia.” pg. 48. He eventually manages to take a deep breath and forget all about these fears as he heroically plunges into an attempt to help the possibly endangered Ib, who is fortunately found “crouched at the edge of the stream” pg. 49.

If Ken had not learned an important lesson, to face his fears, Ib might have been in serious trouble. Fortunately she is not. We must all realize that no matter how great our fears may be, there is a time of need when we must forget all of our thoughts, all of our worries and do the best we can to help others in need.

In the short story “Tunnel”, Sarah Ellis shows how the main character, Ken, becomes who he is. She summarizes how he develops himself as a person over his life-span. Ken was once a different person, he “thought of being outdoors. Tree planting, maybe.” pg. 44. He thought he would be big and strong man, ready to take on the world, with “biceps of iron and bags of money.” pg. 44. He thought he would get the most amazing summer job in the world, “At the very worste “he” saw “himself” sitting on one of those tall lifeguard chairs with zinc ointment on “his” lips.” pg. 44. Instead he learned to face reality and was forced to become a babysitter. It is overlooked that as a child he was different and his dreams have changed over time as he has matured and become a young sensible adult.

Sarah Ellis has created believable, true to life characters in the story “Tunnel”. The characterization of Ken is especially well written and provides the reader with much insight towards real-life situations that other people in the world may encounter. She has however, created a character with qualities of greater than normal stature for a “regular” teen, but has also given her character “normal” flaws. He is very responsible, and is learning an important lesson – that of facing one’s fears and understanding the true meaning of bravery. Not only does Sarah Ellis depict his life in his mid-teen years, but also offers a glimpse of his personality development through his younger years and in the story, Ken’s character is played out to be more complex than he seems.

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