Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Chapter Twenty-Four Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Winnie is a bit shocked by how easy it is for her to leave the house. She expects her parents and Granny to wake up and try to stop her, and she realizes suddenly that if she wanted to, she could sneak out all the time. This makes her feel even guiltier. Jesse is waiting for her at the gate and they run together down to the jailhouse and the gallows. They see lightning and hear thunder far away and a refreshing breeze starts up.
Knowing that she can sneak out at any time again reminds Winnie of all the choices that she could make, while her guilt reminds her yet again that those choices, while certainly available to her, do indeed have consequences. It also highlights how permeable the boundary is between Winnie’s safe world at home and the complexities of the outside world. The coming storm suggests that this strange week of August, and the strange events Winnie has experienced, are coming to a close.
Themes
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
At the back of the jailhouse, Angus hugs Winnie  tightly and Miles squeezes her hand before they all creep to the window. Winnie repeats a poem over and over in her head until the words become meaningless and listens to the storm get closer. Miles gets on a box, pours oil around the frame of the window, and begins to pry the nails out of the window frame. They drop down when they hear the constable whistling as he checks Mae's cell, but when they see his light disappear, Miles returns to the window and pulls out more nails. He grabs the bars and waits for a crash of thunder to pull on the window. It takes two tries, but the window comes free.
The thunderstorm seems more than coincidental, suggesting again that the natural world and humans are more connected than Winnie or the man in the yellow suit thought possible at first. Especially when Miles uses the thunder to his advantage to mask the sound of the window, it shows that when people accept nature for what it is and seek to work with it and not change or control it, humans can do far more than they could otherwise.
Themes
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Mae slowly climbs out the window with Angus's help and lands in a heap on the ground. It begins to rain as Mae, Angus, Miles, and Jesse kiss Winnie. Jesse tells her to remember as he hugs her tight. Then, Miles boosts Winnie through the window and onto the cot. She watches Miles refit the window and wonders if he's going to put the nails back in. After a few minutes, Winnie looks out the window and sees that the Tucks are gone, though she thinks she can hear a bit of the music box's melody.
Though the Tucks leaving isn't the same as death, they're still leaving Winnie's life, presumably forever. This reminds Winnie that it's necessary to let things go, whether by letting them physically leave or by understanding that all living things must someday die.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon