Literature · Novels and Novellas

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt | Review and Analysis

Tuck Everlasting is the story of a girl named Winnie Foster who finds out about a magic spring that grants immortality when she meets the Tuck family, who have drank from it. She must help them keep the magic of the spring secret.

Tuck Everlasting is an old favorite of mine that I felt like re-reading. This book is a gem and gives you much to think about. Humans as a whole, have thought about immortality quite a bit. A lot of the stories and myths we have feature the subject.

Do We Really Want to Live Forever?

Death in general is something people tend to obsess over since it is an inevitable part of the human cycle. It’s something that’s feared but we all have to face it and deal with the fact that it’s coming.

So that’s why we have literature like Tuck Everlasting that lets us see what living forever might be like. And according to the Tucks it’s not that great. Not that great at all.

Because dying, in a way, gives life meaning. Humans build up their lives with the thought that they have a limited amount of time – so what if, instead, they knew they had all the time in the world? The world could come to a stand still, and humans may seize to progress.

In the book, the Tucks are terrified at the thought of the water from the spring becoming known to the world. People would go insane to get the water and it would lead to a worldwide catastrophe. The book makes this known several times.

“If people knowed about the spring down there
in Treegap, they’d trample each other, trying to
get some of that water…”

This is pretty characteristic of humans – fighting over a precious resource. However, it likely wouldn’t be accessible to everyone in the end. Judging by the man in the yellow suit’s plan, someone would bottle it and sell it for a lot of money and thus making it mainly accessible to the elites (just like everything else, >_>)

Life is a Wheel

For human life to truly have meaning it has be in a cycle just like everything else in nature. A cycle always has to end and start over. If humans were to live forever they would be stuck, as it’s stated in the book “You can’t have living without dying.” Or the earth would change but the human race  would remain stagnant.

Some quotes from Mr. Tuck:

“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping.”

“…That’s what us Tucks are, Winnie. Stuck so’s we can’t move on. We ain’t part of the wheel no more. Dropped off, Winnie. Left behind.”

“…But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born.”

We may not like it but we have to stay on the wheel. That’s how nature works, if the rest of the world can’t stop than neither can we…

The story’s antagonist, the man in the yellow suit, represents the worst part of human nature. He hears the story of the spring and spends forever trying to find it. He wants to use the water to gain wealth and he’s willing to manipulate Winnie and the Tuck family to do it…he essentially shows why most humans wouldn’t be able to handle such a gift.


Now I agree living forever could be terrible for the world. However, I think if I was giving the choice I probably would want to. The real issue Tuck Everlasting raises is that immortality couldn’t work on a widespread scale.

But I mean maybe a few very secretive individuals that mean no harm could have a sip. Maybe I could fit that mold. The Tucks might not like living forever but I feel I have about four lifetimes worth of things to do.

Then again, maybe I should be wearing a yellow suit.

Anyways, Tuck Everlasting is an amazing little book. I love a children’s book that makes me think. 5/5


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