Tuck Everlasting


Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Sixteen Summary & Analysis

Late in the night, the man in the yellow suit and the constable start off for the Tucks’ homestead. The constable isn't at all excited about this and points out that he can't run his horse too hard. When he suggests that they could've waited until dawn, the man in the yellow suit reminds him that the Fosters are very upset. The constable is suspicious that the man in the yellow suit might actually be involved with the kidnappers himself, but the man insists that he didn't report the kidnapping immediately since he had to see where they took Winnie. He also mentions that the Fosters sold him their wood. This impresses the constable, who says that the Fosters are the proudest family in town.
The constable's assessment of what the Fosters are like suggests that because of the Fosters' pride and wealth, others in Treegap might not think of them as being thoughtful, emotional people. This suggests that because Winnie is learning to understand others who are different and, specifically, those who have less money, she may have the power to help her family gain acceptance in the Treegrap community. This idea suggests one more way that Winnie may be able to make a difference in the world through building connections with others.
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The man in the yellow suit explains that they have to go 20 miles north, which makes the constable groan. He slumps back in his saddle and tries to make small talk. He says that he's never had a kidnapping case before and talks about how excited he is to put the criminals in his brand-new jailhouse. With a chuckle, the constable says that the circuit judge will come through next week and take care of this, even though Treegap now has its own gallows. He tries to ask the man in the yellow suit what he's going to do with the wood, but the man won't share. Annoyed, the man in the yellow suit says that he's going to ride ahead because he's worried about Winnie. The constable agrees and makes the man promise not to do anything until he arrives.
The constable's excitement over getting to jail someone in Treegap for the first time introduces the idea that for him, justice is simply black and white. There's no acknowledgement from him that the Tucks might not actually be criminals, or that their "crimes" might not warrant the gallows in the first place. This shows that while Winnie is gaining a more nuanced understanding of morality and law and order, not all adults develop this same awareness.
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