Tuck Everlasting


Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Eleven Summary & Analysis

The Tucks and Winnie have supper. They eat sitting in the parlor, which Winnie has never done before. She watches carefully in case there are new rules to eating this way, but she doesn't observe any except that while there's food to eat, nobody speaks. Because there are no napkins Winnie understands she can lick syrup off of her fingers, something she's not allowed to do at home. This makes dinner seem luxurious until the silence begins to get to Winnie. She feels as though outside, the world belonged to all of them, while inside, everything must be done the Tucks' way. Winnie thinks for the first time that eating is a personal activity, and that she shouldn't be eating with strangers. She suddenly decides that the Tucks are criminals and can't expect her to actually sleep here.
The way that Winnie thinks of the division between inside and outside continues to complicate the narrator's earlier discussion of ownership: here, Winnie suggests that land itself isn't actually owned, while indoor spaces are owned and governed by the owner's rules. Realizing that eating is something private and intimate shows that Winnie is beginning to see herself as a person among people, who can and should do things to protect her own privacy as well as that of others.
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Winnie puts her fork down and announces that she wants to go home. Kindly, Mae says that she'll take Winnie home tomorrow, after Winnie promises to keep the stream a secret. To try to cheer Winnie up, Miles offers to take Winnie out on the pond after supper. Jesse insists that he'll take Winnie, but Angus sternly says that he'll take Winnie out himself so they can talk, as he suspects they don't have much time. Jesse laughs, but Mae asks Angus why he's worried. She notes that they did see the man in the yellow suit as they ran away with Winnie, but he didn't say anything. Winnie admits that she knows the man and he's nice, but she was too afraid to call out to him. Angus shakes his head and asks Winnie to follow him to the pond.
Though Winnie hasn't shared with the Tucks her thoughts on the differences between indoors and outdoors, the offer to take Winnie out to the pond shows that on some level, the Tucks all recognize that being outside is likely more comfortable for Winnie, who's clearly never been around people who are so different from herself. Angus's insistence that he needs to speak to Winnie soon reminds the reader that it's important not to wait to do important things, for opportunities can disappear in an instant.
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