Innocence to Experience
Innocence and experience helps to raise questions in the readers mind to expand the focus on the concepts by the author. Most people develop beliefs through many sources such as media, personal observations, experiences, friends, or teachers. Another resource for exploring and testing our beliefs and opinions is literature.
Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing is a creative short story about a young man facing himself and his innermost fears. On a trip to the beach with his mother, eleven year old Jerry discovers a secrete tunnel which passes through a massive rock to the other side many feet below the surface of the ocean. After observing some native boys swim through the tunnel, Jerry is compelled to try it himself. It is a very difficult and dangerous swim, but Jerry is convinced it is something he must do. Putting himself in great danger, Jerry manages to accomplish the goal and in doing so, takes his first step in becoming a man.
In The Red Convertible, Louise Erdrich explores the youthful innocence of two young brothers and the tragedy that comes between them. Henry, the oldest, is always being shadowed by his younger brother Lyman. Lyman was somewhat of an
entrepreneur. Lyman was always doing doing something for money. On a trip to Winnipeg they saw the red olds for the first time. Lyman had a bankroll of money from the insurance company because of the tornado. Henry had two checks, one from work, and another from being laved off. They had never talked about getting a car, but as soon as they saw the for sale sign gleaming it the window they had just enough money to get home. Lyman and Henry went everywhere in that car together. When thy returned from their summer trip the army remembered that Henry had signed up to join. Whenever Henry Left he said “Now it’s yours” (170), and threw Lyman his key to the car. In the years that Henry was gone, Lyman had the car in perfect shape. When Henry returned he was not the same. All he did was watch television. Lyman tore the car up on purpose to try to bring Henry out of it. “That car looks like *censored*” (171) Henry tells Lyman. Lyman’s idea worked because all Henry did from then on was work on that car. After Henry got the car fixed up they took it to the river one night. Henry wanted to cool off so he jumped in. “My boots are filling” (174) he yelled to Lyman. Then Henry was gone. Lyman got in the car and drove it up to the bank of the river. He turned the high beams on, put the car in first gear, let off clutch, and watched it plow into the river.
Innocence and experience is shown in both the stories mentioned above. Innocence in Through the Tunnel and The Red Convertible is nothing but kids out having fun. The experience of Through the Tunnel was about Jerry conquering his fears and becoming a man. In The Red Convertible, Lyman’s brother drowns in the
river. Along with Henry, the car he cherished went also. Tragically, Lyman lost the two most important things to him. His brother and that red olds.