Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt Online Book Summary
Winnie goes directly to the fence the next morning. It is the hottest day yet and her family is treating her a little like a fragile egg. Leaning against bars of the fence, she thinks of Mae behind bars of her own. Then, lifting her head, she sees the Toad. She asks her grandmother for water, but by the time she returns, it is gone. Her grandmother asks her not stay out too long as Winnie slumps down on the grass and tries to figure out how to help Mae. Miraculously, just at that moment, Jesse appears. He tells Winnie that Miles has a plan to get Mae out. Being a carpenter, he knows how to remove the cell window, bars and all. They’re going to try it that night after it gets dark. He says he has come to say good-bye, and he gives her bottle of the spring water and tells her when she is seventeen to drink it and come find him. He is just about to leave when Winnie says she knows how she can help his mother – she’ll climb in the window after Mae is freed and take her place in the cell. She won’t be discovered until morning and that will give them time to get away. At midnight, she will leave with Jesse for the prison, and she will make a difference in the world.
There is emphasis in this chapter on the motif of the wheel – August, the hottest month, when people make bad decisions is the apex of the Ferris wheel and Winnie is about to make a decision that may turn out to be the worst she’s ever made. However, she’s determined to do whatever she can to make a difference.
It is the longest day of summer, the one where it is too hot to move or even think. Winnie sits in her room and waits, because there is nothing else she can do. She sees that the sky is changing, thickening somehow, and the smell of rain is in the air. It is a welcome thought, but it doesn’t alleviate her guilt that for the second time that week, she is going to do something she knows is forbidden. However, she has a strong sense of rightness even as she wonders if her family will ever trust her again. The Tucks need her and she will not disappoint them. She also thinks about the bottle of spring water and Jesse’s request. She falls asleep with these thoughts in her head. Later, she awakes with a jerk, fearful she has slept through the time. However, she gets up and checks the clock and knows she is all right, because it is five minutes until midnight.
Just as the coming of the rain will change the terrible heat that holds Treegap in its grip, so the coming of
midnight will change Winnie forever.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Tuck Everlasting".
. 23 May 2014