Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Eight Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Winnie doesn't believe in fairy tales; she doesn't even really like Granny's story about elves. She can't believe what she's hearing, but Jesse excitedly says that it feels great to tell somebody about being immortal. Jesse says that it's mostly fantastic, as he's already seen lots of things and will be able to see so much more. Miles cautions Jesse that talking this way will make Winnie want to drink, but Jesse says that they need to enjoy their lot in life since they can't change it. Miles suggests that Jesse take it more seriously.
This exchange between Miles and Jesse reinforces their age and maturity differences. For Miles, who's 22 and has five years on Jesse, there's more to life than enjoying it--but then again, Miles also had the experience of losing his wife and children and is certainly scarred by that. Jesse, being 17, has never had to think of anyone but himself and is therefore stuck in eternal adolescence.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Addressing Winnie, Mae says that they need her help in keeping the secret. She says that they'll answer Winnie's questions later and sighs. Mae explains that though Winnie's mother and father will worry, they need to take Winnie home with them so that Angus can talk to her about why she can't tell anyone, but she promises to bring Winnie home tomorrow. Winnie agrees, reasoning that even if she didn't, they'd make her go anyway. Winnie also thinks that the Tucks don't seem scary. They seem gentle and strangely childlike. The way they talk to Winnie also makes her feel very important and special, and she really likes Jesse.
Notably, the Tucks speak to Winnie in a manner that gives them a chance to become friends with her--they treat her like a person worthy of respect and kindness. This is also how they might speak to an adult, which no doubt appeals to Winnie's desire to move out in the world and have independent, adult experiences. Mae's insistence that Winnie needs to talk to Angus suggests that Angus's views on the matter are the ones that Winnie--and by extension, the reader—should take most seriously.
Themes
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
With a whoop of joy, Jesse asks Mae for breakfast. They walk and ride along, eating bread and cheese. Jesse swings from trees and shows off for Winnie. Winnie feels as though she finally has friends and reasons that she is running away, but isn't doing so alone. With this, she feels as though she's closing away her fears like she closed the gate of her yard. Winnie is elated and she feels as though the whole world is welcoming her. She thinks that she might also live forever and runs down the road, whooping like Jesse. In her elation and happiness, nobody notices that the man in the yellow suit heard the Tucks' story and is now following them with a smile.
Winnie's quick transformation from terrified child to elated young adolescent shows that an essential part of coming of age and joining the cycle of life is experiencing these sudden, unpredictable transitions between terror and joy. Further, knowing that she can shut away her fears just as she shut the gate of her yard shows her that she has the power to move back and forth between childhood and adulthood, especially as her decision to leave the fence becomes a metaphor for her leap into adulthood.
Themes
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Related Quotes