What details are missing from Chapter 5 of Tuck Everlasting?

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liesljohnson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 5, although we meet Jesse Tuck and see him uncovering the secret spurt of water to drink from it, we don't find out why that source of water is hidden by the pebbles. What secret does it hold? Why does Jesse act as though he's been caught doing something secret when he realizes that Winnie is watching him? Why won't he let her drink the water? These are the main questions that go unanswered in the reader's mind in Chapter 5.

Some readers might also want to know why Jesse seems to tease Winnie on the topic of his own age, and why he's reluctant to tell her how old he is. What is he hiding about his age? Why won't he just say right away how old he is? Why does he seem so serious when he jokes that he's 104 years old?

And when Mae Tuck arrives at the end of the chapter and sees Winnie near the stream, why does Mae say that the "worst is happening at last"? 

After we read beyond Chapter 5, we figure out what those missing details were:

1. Jesse had tried to keep the water source hidden because it's actually magic water that makes people who drink from it live forever. He didn't want Winnie to drink it; he'd rather everyone lived in a natural life span instead.

2. Jesse told the truth about his age being 104. He really has lived that long, even though he only appears to be a teenager.

3. Mae sees Winnie near the magic water, and she thinks Winnie knows her family's secret. That's why Mae thinks that the worst has happened.