Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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The Fence Symbol Icon

While Winnie is at home, she's most often sitting just inside her family's wrought-iron fence. She initially conceptualizes of the fence as a prison, trapping her inside and not allowing her to experience the world beyond it. However, when she decides to go for a walk in her family's wood, she discovers that the fence is actually easy to breach. The way that Winnie engages with the fence comes to encapsulate her journey as she begins to come of age and experiment with stepping outside of the careful, contained world of childhood. While her budding maturity means that she craves independence and getting outside of the fence, she recognizes after some time away that the fence also holds comforts, like her mother and her rocking chair, that help her cope with what she sees in the larger, more adult world. Developing this kind of nuanced understanding that the fence is a permeable barrier helps Winnie and the reader realize that coming of age and becoming an adult doesn't happen all at once. Instead, just as Winnie goes back and forth from one side of the fence to the other, children move back and forth between childhood and adulthood as they feel comfortable and ready to do so.

The Fence Quotes in Tuck Everlasting

The Tuck Everlasting quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Fence. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Square Fish edition of Tuck Everlasting published in 1975.
Chapter Three Quotes

"I want to be by myself for a change." She leaned her forehead against the bars and after a short silence went on in a thoughtful tone. "I'm not exactly sure what I'd do, you know, but something interesting--something that's all mine. Something that would make some kind of difference in the world."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), The Toad
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eight Quotes

Closing the gate on her oldest fears as she had closed the gate of her own fenced yard, she discovered the wings she'd always wished she had. And all at once she was elated. Where were the terrors she'd been told she should expect? She could not recognize them anywhere. The sweet earth opened out its wide four corners to her like the petals of a flower ready to be picked, and it shimmered with light and possibility till she was dizzy with it. Her mother's voice, the feel of home, receded for the moment, and her thoughts turned forward. Why, she, too, might live forever in this remarkable world she was only just discovering!

Related Characters: Winnie Foster, Mae Tuck, Miles Tuck, Jesse Tuck
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-Two Quotes

"I mean, what'll they say to you after, when they find out?"

"I don't know," said Winnie, "but it doesn't matter. Tell your father I want to help. I have to help. If it wasn't for me, there wouldn't have been any trouble in the first place."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), Jesse Tuck (speaker), Mae Tuck, Angus Tuck, Winnie's Mother, Winnie's Father
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Tuck Everlasting LitChart as a printable PDF.
Tuck Everlasting PDF

The Fence Symbol Timeline in Tuck Everlasting

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Fence appears in Tuck Everlasting. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
...the grasses on either side look sad. The first cottage it passes has an iron fence around a cropped lawn, and it looks imposing and cold. The narrator says that this... (full context)
Chapter Three
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
At noon that day, Winnie sits on the closely cropped grass inside her fence, talking to a toad outside. She tells it that she might run away tomorrow, but... (full context)
Chapter Four
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
At sunset, the man in the yellow suit saunters up to the Fosters' fence. He watches Winnie trying to catch fireflies and calls out to her after a few... (full context)
Chapter Five
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
...afraid and wonders if the toad might laugh at her if it returns to the fence later. Winnie decides that instead of running away, she'll just go into the wood to... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
...when the constable brought her home, her mother, father, and Granny met her at the fence. They refused to believe that Winnie left of her own accord and that the Tucks... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
...just ask her to come in if it gets too hot. Winnie leans against the fence and thinks of Mae in the jailhouse. She suddenly notices the toad on the other... (full context)
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
...eyes. A few minutes later, Jesse interrupts her reverie. Winnie grabs his hand through the fence and asks if they have a plan to get Mae out. Jesse whispers that Miles... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Five
Childhood, Independence, and Maturity Theme Icon
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
...autumn is on its way and the "wheel" is turning again. Winnie stands at the fence, listening to the birds and admiring the blooming goldenrod across the road. None of the... (full context)
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
Suddenly, the toad jumps out of some weeds right on the other side of the fence. At the same time, a big dog trots down the road and notices the toad.... (full context)