ENG2 Oclaret
THE TUNNEL
Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo
and there became the retainer of a high official. H...
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THE TUNNEL - Japanese Litt

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THE TUNNEL - Japanese Litt

  1. 1. ENG2 Oclaret THE TUNNEL Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official’s wife and was discovered. In self-defense he slew the official. Then he ran away with his wife. Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant. To atone for his part, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there. Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2 280 feet long, 20 feet high and 30 feet wide. Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain, who was a skillful swordsman, found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge. “I will give you my life willingly,” said Zenkai. “Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me.” So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zenkai kept on digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai’s strong will and character. At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel in safety. “Now cut off my head,” said Zenkai. “My work is done.” “How can I cut off my own teacher’s head?” asked the younger man with tears in his eyes. A. Check Your Vocabulary Fill in the blanks with the missing letters to form the words from the text whose meanings are given below. 1. _ e _ a _ _ e _ a long-employed servant 2. s _ _ w killed by violence 3. _ r _ e _ y wanting excessively to acquire 4. _ _ s _ u _ t _ _ offended 5. _ a _ _ _ r _ n _ roaming 6. _ e _ _ _c _ _ _ t beggar 7. a _ _ n _ make amends for sin 8. _ _ n _ e l underground passage B. Check Your Reading 1. Who are the characters in the story? 2. Where did the story take place? 3. What happened between Zenkai and the high official’s wife? 4. What was Zenkai forced to do when they were found out? 5. Why did the relationship end? 6. What did Zenkai do to atone for his sins? 7. Who was Zenkai’s unexpected guest? 8. What bargain did he strike with the slain officer’s son? 9. While helping him build the tunnel, what did the son discover about Zenkai? 10. Why did the son refuse to kill Zenkai in the end? C. Valuing-Appreciating 1. What great virtue did Zenkai possess despite his shortcomings? 2. How did the boy see Zenkai’s goodness despite what he committed? 3. Analyze the different emotions that engulfed the son and Zenkai throughout the story. Which emotion won in the end? Why? 4. When the boy said, “How can I cut off my own teacher’s head?” what change took place in him? 5. How did the story reflect the great respect that the Japanese have for their teachers? 6. Is great respect for teachers evident in our society? Explain your answer.

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