Comparison Essay In general, the plots of stories usually follow well-defined patterns. One of these patterns is the initiation myth. This pattern incorporates a main character going through a difficult endeavor. In doing this, the character achieves a higher status. Games at Twilight and Through the Tunnel are two unique renditions of the initiation myth. In the beginning of both of the stories, the main character sought to gain acceptance into a group of superior children. In Games at Twilight, Ravi felt that he must win this game of hide-and-go-seek for this acceptance.
Ravi thought, …to be the winner in a circle of older, bigger, luckier children that would be thrilling beyond imagination. In Through the Tunnel, the main character, Jerry, faced a similar ordeal when he watched the big boys as they swam. The description given to Jerry as he watched them swim was, To be with them (the big boys), of them, was a craving that filled his whole body. This desire for acceptance into higher status would be the basis for their future actions. The main characters dealt with their desire in different ways.
Jerry tried to mirror the boys by going through the tunnel. Ravi sought to outdo them by beating them in the game. The characters also faced different types of obstacles. Jerry s obstacle was going through the tunnel in an underwater rock. Soon he was clear inside. He was in a small rockbound hole filled with yellowish gray water. The water was pushing him up against the roof. The roof was sharp and pained his back. He pulled himself along with his hands… This shows that his obstacle was a physical, external struggle.
Ravi s obstacle was to overcome his fear in the shed. He (Ravi) wondered if it would be better to be captured by Rahgu and be returned to the milling crowd as long as he could be in the sun, the light… This shows that his obstacle was a mental, internal struggle. The boys tried to gain a higher status in contrasting manners. After overcoming their obstacles, the boys responded in different ways. Ravi, overjoyed that he had not been caught, immediately stumbled toward his uninterested friends and expressed his triumph.
With a whimper he (Ravi) burst through the crack, fell on his knees, got up on stiff, benumbed legs across the shadowy yard… he bawled, Den! Den! Den! His playmates did not care about his achievement, and therefore he had failed in getting their reverence for winning. Jerry, however, did not need the big boys to confirm his achievement. He (Jerry) could see the local boys diving and playing half a mile away. He did not want them. Jerry had initiated himself. That is the major difference between Jerry and Ravi.
Ravi needed others to give him higher status, whereas Jerry did this internally. In Through the Tunnel the setting of the beach symbolized Jerry s youth. The bay symbolized Jerry s maturity. The images used to describe the beach and the bay contrast each other. The bay tends to have darker ones than does the beach. In Games at Twilight, the shed symbolized a coffin. When Ravi was in the shed, he was forgotten, it was as if he did not exist, as if he were dead. The outside symbolized vitality. Whenever he was outside, he was noticed.
The predominant images in the first and last pages of Games at Twilight are of death. No life stirred at this time of day. He wanted a victory and triumph not a funeral. The author is trying to relate death to insignificance. Both of these stories are examples of the initiation myth. In both, there is a main character in a relatively low position. In both the main character tries to achieve a higher status. Initiation myths consist of these two elements. Though they diverge from each other in major ways, they both follow this generic pattern.