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Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting


by Natalie Babbitt

Analysis: Writing Style

Descriptive, Metaphoric, and Rich in Imagery

Tuck Everlasting is chock full of figurative language. And author Natalie Babbitt doesn't waste any time getting down to business, using descriptive and metaphoric writing right off the bat:

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. (Prologue.1)

That wheel pops up quite a bit in Tuck, and even becomes a metaphor for life when Tuck himself tells Winnie, "'dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born'" (12.10).

Babbitt can be sneaky with her metaphors, too:

And Winnie, laughing at him, lost the last of her alarm. They were friends, her friends. She was running away after all, but she was not alone. 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 (8.13)

Did you catch the metaphor in there? We'll give you a hint—it rhymes with shmate. That's right. Our author snuck a metaphor in there without us even noticing the first time around.

Free Indirect Discourse

Free what? Don't worry—that's just a fancy term for when the narration slips in and out of characters' consciousness. In other words, characters' thoughts, feelings, and words are filtered through the third-person narrator. Here's an example of the narrator channeling Winnie's brain waves:

Was it true? Could they really never die, these Tucks? It had evidently not occurred to them that she might not believe it. They were only concerned that she keep the secret. Well, she did not believe it. It was nonsense. Wasn't it? Well, wasn't it? (14.6)

This really helps us get deep into the minds of the characters—particularly Winnie—without a first-person narration. It's kind of the best of both worlds.

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