Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Nineteen Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The man in the yellow suit looks around for a minute before addressing Winnie and telling her she's safe. Winnie thinks that there's something suspicious and unpleasant behind the man's expressionless face. Angus explains that they were going to bring Winnie home themselves. The man tells Angus to sit down and listen to what he has to say. He stands by the hearth and says that he was born in the west, where his grandmother told him stories about one of her friends who married a man who never got any older. Her husband's family didn't get older either and finally, the friend left her husband. Miles whispers, "Anna."
Here, the man in the yellow suit begins to symbolize the age-old interest in immortality and evading death. While this is something that humans are naturally curious about, since it's something that humans can't actually know, Angus's talks with Winnie suggest to the reader that this man's curiosity and desire to figure out the secret are actually misplaced.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Mae tells the man in the yellow suit that he has no right to talk to them about this, while Angus tells the man to get to his point. The man in the yellow suit says that he was fascinated by these stories and went to school to figure out how it could be true. After school, the man gave his grandmother a music box, which made the grandmother remember that her friend's mother-in-law had a music box. The friend's children knew the melody by heart and the man's grandmother taught it to him. He says that he started looking a few months ago and finally heard the melody coming from the Fosters' wood, saw the Tucks take Winnie, and heard their story.
Because the man in the yellow suit has dedicated his life to figuring out how to evade death, he represents a third option for how a person can spend their days (the first option being Winnie, who's alive and seems as though she'll continue to grow, and the second being the Tucks, who don't change and in some cases long for death). However, the man's classism and distaste for the Tucks suggests that he's a foe, not a friend, and his intentions aren't actually good.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
Mae goes suddenly pale and asks the man in the yellow suit what he's going to do. With a smile, the man says that Winnie's father gave him the wood in exchange for bringing Winnie home. Flushing, the man says that now, he can bottle and sell the water to "certain people, people who deserve it." It will be very expensive. He says that "ignorant people" like the Tucks shouldn't have the opportunity to purchase it, but since the Tucks are already immortal, he'll pay them to perform deadly tasks to demonstrate the water's efficacy. In a dull voice, Jesse says that the man wants them to be freaks.
With this, the man in the yellow suit suggests that only a certain type of person (one who's able to pay and who comes from an affluent background) should have access to immortality. This suggests that one type of life is more valuable than others, something that the novel overwhelmingly indicates isn't actually the case. Just as the novel suggests that people should take the lives of non-human beings seriously, it also suggests that all people, no matter who they are, play crucial roles in the cycle of life.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
This makes the man in the yellow suit raise his eyebrows. He says that he thought it'd be nice to offer and points out that with the money, the Tucks could live "like people again, instead of pigs." At this, Angus, Jesse, and Miles shout at the man, who grabs Winnie and roughly shoves her out the door. Winnie screams that she won't go with him. She turns to see Mae behind her, holding the rifle like a club, and Mae tells the man to leave Winnie alone. The man says that it's selfish to not share the water and says that when Winnie drinks the water, she'll be even more effective in demonstrating its power. Mae's face is bright red as she swings the shotgun and hits him in the back of his head. The man drops instantly as the constable emerges from the trees.
The way that the man in the yellow suit speaks about the Tucks also suggests that he assigns moral value to economic standing--that is, poor people like the Tucks are, in his eyes, less "good" and not as moral as wealthy people like himself. Mae's choice to hit the man with the gun shows that even if she's resigned to her fate as an immortal, she doesn't believe that anyone should be forced to make the same decision and is willing to remove a dangerous person from the world in order to protect Winnie from this fate.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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