Author: Natalie Babbit
Plot Summary: Tuck Everlasting is the story of the Tuck family, a family of 4 who, years ago, discovered a spring of water which, they realized after they all drank from it, makes you immortal. Winnie Foster, a 10-year-old girl who has stumbled upon the well, has made friends with Jesse Tuck (who appears to be about 17, but who is actually 104 years old) and is then kidnapped by the Tuck family in an effort to explain to her why she must never tell anyone about the spring. In Chapter 12, Winnie has a conversation with Tuck, the father of the family, about time, the meaning of life, death, and what it means never to grow old. Winnie is tempted to drink from the spring herself, but Tuck tries to describe to her what it would mean to be immortal and how living outside of the wheel of life presents its own challenges. Tuck reveals that he would like to grow again and change and tries to make Winnie understand that dying is an essential part of life, even if the prospect of it is frightening: “[D]ying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing. But it’s passing us by, us Tucks. Living’s heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it’s useless too. It don’t make sense.
Posted In: Ethics, Metaphysics

Discussion Questions
  • Would you drink from the spring of immortality? Why or why not?
  • What would life be like if we didn’t die?
  • What is time?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What does it mean to grow up?
  • Why is death frightening?
  • What would happen if no one ever died?
  • How do we make other people understand our point of view?
  • How are things connected?
  • If you could be one age forever, what age would it be?

This lesson plan can be used in a classroom or online.

You can use either chapter 12 of the physical book or this clip of the relevant scene from the film version if you are looking for an alternative to reading the story aloud.