The Tunnel: a sinister tragedy based on assumptions

After pushing an Argentine friend to recommend a book from her country she told me to read  “The  Tunnel” by Ernesto Sabato. “The Tunnel” proved to be an intense and tragic tale, the confession of a convicted murderer. I started the book with fascination, wanting to know more about what evil or flaw in a person would drive them to murder but in this respect I was somewhat disappointed; this man wasn’t anyone more spectacular or different than most, he was a lonely man that was consumed by his own paranoia and fears and these eventually drove him to murder his lover, Maria. This realisation was quite frightening in that Juan Pablo, the murderer, really wasn’t that different from you or me.

The book had me enthralled as we witness a man that ploughs forth and commits a heinous act based on his own paranoid assumptions. In fact from Juan Pablo’s series of assumptions, which we never actually know are accurate or close to the truth, we see the demise and destruction of all of the novel’s main characters. This actually caused me to pause and ask myself how many assumptions have I made in the past that have totally clouded my vision and perception of reality? The anger and passion that drives Juan Pablo to kill Maria is actually all borne without any proven concrete facts.  I’d like to think that most people wouldn’t be driven to murder from a series of assumptions they may have made but I do know that assumptions have often caused me upset and grief in the past when I catch a whiff of a tale and then my imagination gallops ahead of me. Sabato’s work is definitely one that makes us stop and think and in my own case it has served as a reminder to never let my assumptions and imagination run away with me and cloud my vision or basic common sense.

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