Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Twenty Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Winnie stands with her arms around Angus as the constable declares that the man in the yellow suit isn't dead yet. Mae explains that she hit the man because he was trying to take Winnie away against her will. Winnie turns to face the constable and says that the Tucks didn't kidnap her; she came because she wanted to and because they're her friends. The constable shrugs and they all look at the man in the yellow suit, who looks like a marionette. Winnie glances at Angus, who's staring at the body with envy. Winnie touches him and he takes her hand.
Standing up to the constable and telling him that she wasn't kidnapped shows that Winnie now understands that she has the power to talk to adults and influence them using her point of view. Angus's envious stare reminds the reader that what Angus wants most is to finish his cycle of life and die, though it also suggests that he fixates on his desire to die too much to effectively live.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
The constable tells Angus to take the man in the yellow suit inside and look after him until he can send a doctor. He says that he has to take Mae and put her in jail, and he needs to take Winnie home. Miles and Jesse promise Mae that they'll get her out, but the constable explains that if the man dies, Mae will be hanged. Winnie watches as Jesse and Miles carry the man inside and Mae swings up onto the horse. Winnie looks at Angus and says with conviction that it's going to be okay. The words feel strange to say, but she knows she'd want to hear them right now.
Telling Angus that it's going to be okay allows Winnie to channel things she's likely heard from her parents and grandmother and use those comforts to help someone else. This is a major point in Winnie's coming of age, as it shows her stepping into an adult role and understanding that adults, just like children, sometimes need reassurance and comfort.
Themes
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The constable swings onto his own horse behind Winnie and Winnie again assures Angus that things will be okay. She sits up straight and watches Mae ride in front of her. Winnie looks at the meadows and fields around her and knows that, more than anything else, she has to stop Mae from hanging. She knows that even if Mae were a cold-blooded murderer and deserved to die, she can't die.
After this experience, Winnie understands that by keeping Mae from the gallows, it is possible for her to make a mark on the world and do something useful. Her recognition that Mae can't die, even if she should, also shows that she's beginning to develop a more nuanced idea of what constitutes morality.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon