Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Tuck Everlasting: Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mae and Angus ride into Treegap on a wagon, pulled by their old horse. The town is barely recognizable. The main street is the same, but it now has asphalt and many streets crossing it. Winnie's cottage is gone, but there's now a pharmacy, a dry cleaner, and a hotel. They pass the jailhouse with a black and white police car parked in front. Mae suggests that they get a cup of coffee at a diner. There, they ask the counterman if there used to be a wood on the other side of town. The man says that a few years ago, a big storm blew through and a tree got hit by lightning and set the whole thing on fire. They had to clear the entire wood. Mae and Angus sip their coffee and Angus asks about a spring in the wood. The counterman doesn't know anything about it.
What the counterman says about the wood suggests that it and the stream never were found out, and also that they're no longer around to tempt people with eternal life. The fact that the wood and the stream were done away with by an act of nature--the storm--suggests that the natural world finally took it upon itself to remove this dangerous temptation from the world so that people can continue to grow, change, and die, as Angus believes nature intended them to.
Themes
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Later, while Mae shops for supplies, Angus walks back through town to a little hill and the cemetery there. They'd noticed it on their way in but hadn't mentioned it. Angus studies the gravestones and notices a tall monument with "Foster" carved on it. Nearby, he finds Winnie's grave. Her headstone reads that she was a wife and a mother and died in 1948, two years ago. Angus cries, salutes Winnie, and leaves the cemetery.
The fact that Winnie became a wife and a mother is, in Angus's opinion, indicative of other ways that Winnie likely contributed and made a difference in the world. She not only gave life to new people, but she probably helped guide them towards adulthood and the same kind of understanding of nature and the purpose of life that she learned as a child. Angus’s deep respect of Winnie also indicates that she acted wisely by allowing herself to die.
Themes
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
As Mae and Angus leave town, they discuss that Winnie died and feel sorry for Jesse, even though he knew long ago that Winnie wasn’t coming. They say that there's no reason to return to Treegap anymore and Mae cautions Angus to not hit a toad in the road. Angus climbs down and looks at the toad, who seems unconcerned by the passing traffic. He carries it to the edge of the road and remarks that it must think that it's going to live forever. Mae winds up her music box.
Notice that while the toad clearly isn't concerned about being hit by traffic, the fact that it's likely hit often raises a number of moral questions, such as whether or not this is truly a humane thing to do for an animal. By leaving the reader with this question, the novel encourages the reader to continue to ask these questions as they come to their own understanding of what's good, right, and moral.
Themes
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon