Winnie Foster - She is a wonderful little ten-year-old girl who changes and grows up over the first week of August in the year 1880. She is just beginning that stage of her life where she will try to assert her independence and face the world on her own terms. She decides to break her parents’ rule and go into the wood they own across the road. There she discovers Jesse Tuck and the spring of immortality that he begs her not to drink. She comes to know him and his family over two or three days time and learns to love them while they come to love her as well.
The Man in the Yellow Suit forces all of them to stand up against evil and save the world from a fate worse than death – immortality. She makes choices that are in some minds morally wrong, but knows that she must do the right thing no matter the consequences. She learns valuable lessons about the cycle of life and the beauty of living as well as dying. She choose the normal cycle and gives up her love for Jesse for reasons the reader will never know. However, in the end, like Angus Tuck, we must salute her for what she willingly did to save his family and mankind and the choice she made to fulfill her own life cycle.
Mae Tuck - She is the mother of the immortal family and sincerely loves Winnie. Like her husband, she is sad that she will never die, but unlike him she accepts her fate and moves on to live forever in the best way she knows how. She is very different from Winnie’s mother who is always impeccably dressed with a tidy clean house. Mae is a deplorable housekeeper and she wears peculiar clothes, but she is just as loving and compassionate as Mrs. Foster. She is also much stronger than Mrs. Foster, because she willingly kills a man not only to protect Winnie, but also to protect the world. In the end, she’s sad that Winnie chose life with death rather than Jesse, but she is also realistic and moves on.
Angus Tuck - He is the one who is most affected by his immortality. He dreams often that he and his family are in heaven and have lived their lives, rather than being alive forever and impervious to harm. He envies the Man in the yellow Suit, because he has been able to die and he tells Winnie that he would give anything to be mortal. However, he is a good man who goes on with his existence, looking for meaning in what he does, and making sure that no one ever drinks from the spring.
Miles Tuck - He is the oldest Tuck son and the one who is most levelheaded. He is a carpenter and a blacksmith and tells Winnie that he wants to find a way to do something important even though he is going to live forever and no one must know that. He had been married when he discovered his immortality and lost his wife, daughter, and son, when she went away from him in fear of witchcraft. He has never forgotten them, however, and often wishes his life had been different. Like his brother, he leaves home in search of his goals with the promise he’ll return to his family every ten years to reunite as a family.
Jesse Tuck - He is the youngest son and the one who is most impetuous. He travels around doing whatever moves him like working in the fields or in a saloon. He is the first of the Tucks that Winnie meets and he is the one with whom she falls in love. He keeps her from drinking the water knowing the consequences for which shows he is also deeply compassionate. But he leaves her a bottle of the water in hopes that when she turns seventeen, she’ll want to drink it and then be with him forever.
The Man in the Yellow Suit - He is the villain of the story and seems to be a character reminiscent of the devil. He is greedy and evil and would destroy the world for financial gain. He is deliberately nameless, because he represents all the evil of the world and his destruction by a relatively powerless group of people symbolizes the strength we all have to stand up for what is right. The yellow suit is a peculiar characteristic, no doubt implying that anyone who would destroy others for his own gain is nothing more than a coward and yellow is an appropriate color. His black hat, however, is the symbol of the “bad guy.” In the end, he isn’t strong enough to stand up against the goodness of the Tucks and Winnie.
The Toad - It is Winnie’s first friend and seems to be everywhere she is, which offers her comfort and hope. It is the main symbol in the motif of metamorphosis or change, and because it’s always with Winnie, it also symbolizes the metamorphosis that takes place in her over that first week in August, 1880. When she sacrifices the bottle of spring water to keep the Toad safe forever, it is representative of her desire to follow the natural cycle of life and her compassion for those she loves and the world itself.
The author begins with a prologue, which sets the theme and opens clues to the mystery, which will follow. She then follows with 25 chapters, which explore how Winnie Foster “runs away” from a stifling home life only to meet up with the Tucks, a family that accidentally, 87 years before, stumbled upon a spring, the waters of which guarantee eternal life.
In her experiences with the Tucks and the evil Man in the Yellow Suit, she grows, changes, and learns what life is really all about. This is followed by an Epilogue, which ties up all the loose ends of the story and leaves the reader with the feeling that she, too, has discovered the true meaning of life.