Why did Angus Tuck say that they are "like rocks beside the road"?

Expert Answers

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

I believe that this question is asking about one of the most important and poignant quotes of the entire book. It occurs when Angus Tuck is attempting to explain to Winnie Foster the dangers of living forever. By this point, Winnie knows about the spring, and she is being forced to consider if it is something that she would like drink from. All of the Tucks, other than Jesse, are not encouraging her to do that. Part of Angus's explanation involves what it means to actually be alive. He says that to be alive, death has to be a reality. Without dying, a person can't honestly say that they are living. It would be like someone saying that they are truly happy without ever experiencing sadness. To Angus, his immortality doesn't mean he's living—it means that he is existing like any other non-living, inanimate object, like a rock.

You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.

Scientifically speaking, that rock will eventually weather and erode away. There is still the possibility of physical change for the rock. What Angus has is even worse, in his opinion.

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

The Tucks are "stuck", forever watching life go on around them, but never changing. They are like rocks beside a road in that they are unchanging, like rocks, and they are beside the road of life. They are not traveling down the path like everyone else, but they are beside it, not going anywhere, never aging or changing. Just like rocks beside a road, the Tucks can watch people's lives go by and the world change around them, but rocks never change, they just sit there. Angus Tuck uses some great metaphoric imagery in describing what it is like for the Tucks, who are frozen as they were when they drank from the spring, never growing old, never dying, never changing, while the world goes on around them in its natural cycle. It is a painful thing for the Tucks, who wish that they could have lived a normal life. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial