Symbolism, Imagery and Motifs

Other elements that are present in this novel are symbols and metaphors. Symbols are the use of some unrelated idea to represent something else. Metaphors are direct comparisons made between characters and ideas. There are many symbols and metaphors used by the author such as:

1. That would have been a disaster that would have made the earth tremble on its axis like a beetle on a pin. This comment compares the discovery of the spring by everyone to the destruction of the earth.

2. The Toad is a symbol of metamorphosis or change.

3. The music box symbolizes happiness and a touch of fantasy. It is also the tie that binds these characters together.

4. The spring was something left over from the original plan for the world, some plan that didn’t work out too well, a plan that caused everything to change. In this essence the spring symbolizes the failure of God’s creation of Eden.

5. Angus makes Winnie feel like an unexpected present wrapped in pretty blue paper and tied with ribbons. This is a metaphor.

6. Angus was looking down at the Man almost enviously, like a starving man looking through the window at a banquet. This metaphor of death to a banquet for a starving man reveals how much Angus wishes he could die, too.

7. Winnie’s little rocking chair symbolizes comfort and safety.

8. The hub of the wheel is a constant that must never be broken or the world won’t work.


Another element found in this book is a motif. A motif is a recurring thematic element in the development of an artistic or literary work. There are some motifs in Tuck Everlasting as follows:

1. The most important motif is the idea of the wheel and the hub. The wheel, or the Ferris wheel, represents life and death as well as the turning of each year with the month of August at the apex. The spring is its opposite and represents danger to life on earth. For Winnie, it is the only choice she feels she has while to the Tucks, the wheel has bumped them off, doomed them to live forever like rocks along the side of the road.

2. Another motif is that of fantasy. There are fantastic elements in the tale that make it seem impossible: the spring, the music box, the strange Man in the Yellow Suit who has no name, and the wood.

3. There is also the motif of bars, gates, and fences. Winnie feels as much a prisoner of her front yard as Mae will in the prison cell. This emphasizes the idea of change and growth and independence as a part of life.