What do you think of Jesse’s proposal that Winnie wait until she’s 17 and then drink from the spring? Is this a good idea? Is Jesse thinking of what is in Winnie’s best interest?

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The answer to this question is based on individual reader opinion. More often than not, most of my students see the budding romance between Jesse and Winnie as cute, romantic, sweet, etc. I have never bought into those attitudes. The relationship is highly inappropriate in my opinion. Jesse is 17 years old and Winnie is 10. I would not want a high school junior making marital proposals to my fourth grade daughter. Jesse does indeed suggest that Winnie waits until she is closer to his physical age before she drinks the magic spring water. I don't believe that he has Winnie's best interests in mind. I think Jesse is selfishly looking for a companion to travel the world with. He knows that his own family no longer thinks immortality is a gift like he does; therefore, he is alone in following the pleasures that his "gift" allows. Winnie is young and impressionable. She is infatuated with Jesse, and she is likely to buy into his plan as a good idea. I worry about what would happen to Winnie if she doesn't wind up being as fun to be around at age 17 as Jesse believes. Is he going to abandon her in search of more "life to enjoy" for himself?

"We could get married, even. That'd be pretty good, wouldn't it! We could have a grand old time, go all around the world, see everything. Listen, Ma and Pa and Miles, they don't know how to enjoy it, what we got. Why, heck, Winnie, life's to enjoy yourself, isn't it? What else is it good for? That's what I say. And you and me, we could have a good time that never, never stopped. Wouldn't that be something?"

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This is one of those questions that everyone has their own opinion on, but I personally think that Jesse's proposition was a fair one. There were elements of self-interest, because he of course would have wanted Winnie to choose to drink the water and marry him so they could live forever together, but he was also giving her a chance to make her own decision.

I think that this plan really was in Winnie's best interest, because he was making sure that she didn't rush into anything and had plenty of time to think things over. He wasn't pushing her—he was giving her the chance to weigh all of her options before she committed to him for eternity. In a way, this is more romantic and noble than just asking her to drink the water and marry him right then and there. To me, it seems like he was actually thinking more about what was best for Winnie than about what was best for himself and his own happiness.

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