Think about Charlie's description of driving through the tunnel in Part 4. How can it be read metaphorically?
The tunnel is a passage from the suburbs to the city, much like adolescence is a passage between childhood and adulthood. Charlie started this year on the edge of childhood, at home in the suburbs. Driving is a way of controlling his destiny, and in the tunnel he experiences the "calm dream"--the glory days, the sense that nothing else will ever be like this time. But once you can see the end of the tunnel, "you just can't get there fast enough." He's flung out of the tunnel and onto the bridge that takes him to his destiny, the city. The city represents...
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