What are 5 reasons why Winnie didn't drink the water?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tuck Everlasting, written by Natalie Babbitt , is about immortality. The Tuck family discovers an eternal spring that gives everlasting life. When she runs away from home, a young girl named Winnie finds this family and decides to live with them. Winnie debates whether or not she should drink...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

Tuck Everlasting, written by Natalie Babbitt, is about immortality. The Tuck family discovers an eternal spring that gives everlasting life. When she runs away from home, a young girl named Winnie finds this family and decides to live with them. Winnie debates whether or not she should drink from this spring and become immortal and eventually decides not to drink from the spring. Winnie makes this decision for several reasons.

One reason Winnie decides not to drink the water is because she wants to experience life at other ages than only ten years old, the age at which she first meets the Tucks. When a person drinks the water, they are frozen at that age for eternity.

Another reason Winnie decides not to drink the water is because she has heard the stories of members of the Tuck family who have had bad experiences with becoming immortal. For an example Miles Tuck, a 22 year old, lost his wife and children because his wife thought he sold his soul to the devil.

A third reason Winnie decides not to drink the water is because of her conversations with Mae Tuck and Angus Tuck. Both Mae and Angus worry that other people will discover this water and will want to drink from the spring. They worry that if everyone becomes immortal, the world will be overcrowded. Angus also dislikes his own immortality because he wants to experience the after-life.

A fourth reason Winnie decides not to drink the water is that she doesn't want to be miserable. She understands that if she drinks the water, she will be stuck in this eternity forever.

A fifth reason Winnie decides not to drink the water is because Jesse, her love interest, initially tells her not to because she doesn't know what will happen to her if she drinks it. Jesse tends to change his mind often and eventually decides he does want Winnie to drink from the spring. She chooses to decide for herself. She does not drink the water, has a long and happy life and dies when she is an old woman.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the story, the enchanted spring water bequeaths eternal life to anyone who drinks it. However, it also freezes the drinker at the age he/she is currently at. So, if a seventeen-year-old boy like Jesse drinks the water, he will remain seventeen for all of eternity. In the story, Jesse tells Winnie that he has lived for a hundred and four years on earth. Despite this, he will never experience life at any other age than seventeen.

Miles has a sadder story; his wife left him because she could not accustom herself to her husband's unnatural, eternal youthfulness. She took their children with her when she left, leaving Miles bereft of his entire family. Meanwhile, Tuck's greatest fear is that others will discover the water and drink of it, believing that the gift of eternal life outweighs all other considerations. However, in drinking it, they will never experience life at any other age than the one they are at.

Later, Miles tells Winnie that, if no one ever died, the world would soon be pretty overcrowded. People would basically stay frozen in time. Young children, especially, will never enjoy the whole gamut of experiences life has to offer. Meanwhile, people in their twilight years will always be physically "stuck" in their old age; they will never experience youth again nor a release from the physical challenges that accompany old age. In limbo, the old and the young will be miserable for all of eternity. These are probably the main reasons why Winnie decides not to drink the water.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Wow.  Five reasons might be a bit tough.  

One reason I think that she didn't drink the water is that Winnie never truly believed it would work.  Even by the end of the novel, Winnie's internal monologue hints at her slight disbelief that the spring water actually grants eternal life.  Her reticence to drink the water makes sense, because she never actually sees any proof from the Tucks that they are immortals.   

A second reason is that she doesn't have the bottle of spring water any more.  She poured it over the toad.  

A third reason could be because the wood and spring were bulldozed over at some point in Winnie's later life.  

A fourth reason is likely because of Tucks' talk with her.  He told her how much he misses being a part of the natural living and dying cycle of the world.  He misses being able to change with the world around him.  

A fifth reason could be that Winnie gets caught up in living her regular, natural life after the Tucks leave.  The epilogue says that Winnie got married and had children.  Winnie simply could have decided that she loved her current life and people in it more than the chance to live forever with Jesse.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team