In a book about living forever, it's not surprising that death gets a lot of screen time. It's not easy to think about death—we at Shmoop don't even like squishing that bug that's always crawling around our desks. But Tuck Everlasting gets us to take a step back and think about what it would mean if we never died. Would that be just as scary? Or possibly even worse? It's up to you to form your own opinion, but this novel Shmoops us toward grappling with the tough stuff.
Winnie was right to pass up the immortality juice—we can tell from the Tucks' experience that it's not the way to go.
Winnie would have drunk the spring water if she hadn't seen the look in Tuck's eyes as he was watching the man in the yellow suit die. That just pushed her over the edge.
Would time seem different if we had more of it? Would it pass more slowly? Would we get more out of it? In Tuck Everlasting, time lasts forever (literally!) for the Tucks. And it seems like Tuck is worse for the wear because of it—he's unable to treasure the smaller moments in life because he knows they are infinite. For Winnie, on the other hand, every second counts. The twenty-four-hour adventure she has will be one of the most important days of her life, that's for sure.
The moral of Tuck Everlasting is this: it's not about how long you live, it's about what you do with your life.
Winnie is immortal, too—we're still talking about her, aren't we?
One big choice looms over all of Tuck Everlasting: should Winnie drink the immortality water? Does she want to live forever? Pretty hefty, right? But wait a sec—maybe the bigger issue isn't the choice that Winnie has but the lack of choices that the Tucks have. They're stuck where they are, no questions asked. So the next time you're stressed about which shows to prioritize on the DVR, be thankful that you even have the option.
If the Tucks could go back in time and decide whether or not to drink from the immortality spring, Jesse would totally still do it. He thinks being immortal is a giant excuse to have fun.
Winnie made the wrong choice.
What would it mean to live forever? Well, we learn in Tuck Everlasting that everyone has a different answer to that question. (We're guessing you do, too.) The what-does-it-all-mean voice that carries the most in the novel is Tuck's, who thinks that no death means no life.
As soon as she meets the Tucks, Winnie is plunged into a world filled with philosophical questions about life and existence. She may have a lot of guidance, but she finds herself having to come up with answers in a very personal way.
The characters that are immortal in Tuck Everlasting (yep, the Tucks) experience life in a different way than everyone else.
The twenty-four hours we witness of Winnie's life are the most important of her existence—that's why we don't get to see the rest.
The Tucks have a lot of love to give. Over a century's worth, in fact. They shower Winnie with that love, and she returns it in full force, falling in familial love with them within twenty-four hours. Not too shabby. But if there's anything the Tucks have learned from immortality, it's that love isn't always easy. Throughout Tuck Everlasting, they often find themselves losing the ones they love—through no fault of their own.
Winnie loves the Tucks more than she loves her own family.
The most profound type of love in Tuck is revealed by Tuck's reaction to Winnie's death; he loves her so much he wanted what was best for her, no matter what loss it meant for him.
Winnie sure knows how to pick 'em. Where other ten-year-old girls have besties over for sleepovers, Winnie traipses around the nearby woods and befriends an entire family of seriously old people—so old they're immortal. The other problem? The Tucks won't stick around very long. That means that in Tuck Everlasting, Winnie needs to rely on herself and be her own best friend.
After her adventure with the Tucks, Winnie is still on her own—totally friendless.
If Jesse were a true friend, he wouldn't have offered Winnie water from the spring.
What happens when right and wrong collide and you're not sure which way to go? Tuck Everlasting faces that question head on, mostly by putting Winnie and the Tucks in some sticky situations. At the core of all the moral dilemmas is this: should you protect yourself or the people you love? We have to say it: this novel is just as much about morality as it is about mortality.
Killing people is wrong, no questions asked. Mae should be punished for murdering the man in the yellow suit, no matter her motivation.
Speaking of doing the wrong thing, the Tucks are living a lie. Talk about immoral.
Someone forgot to tell the Tucks that the truth will set you free. And so, in Tuck Everlasting, they're stuck, never able to admit to the rest of the world who they really are. They're living a lie—through and through—but can we blame them? (Really, we're asking.) After all, they're lying to protect other people. The entire world, actually. Who knows what kind of craziness would go down if everyone knew about the possibility for immortality? But all that doesn't change that they're lying—and asking Winnie to do the same.
The lies that the man in the yellow suit tells are clearly the bad kind. The Tucks, on the other hand, are just lying to protect people.
By the end of the book, Winnie's been totally corrupted by the Tucks: she's willing to lie to her parents and the constable—break the law, even—in order to help Mae Tuck go free.