In Natalie Babbitt's novel Tuck Everlasting, why is the reappearance of the toad in Chapter 22 important?

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The toad is a symbol of the inevitability of change in life; by the time he reappears, Winnie has begun to question whether or not eternal life is all that it's cracked up to be.  Her family has noticed a change in her, and she continues to find them irritating.  On the day the toad reappears, she's annoyed because they keep cautioning her about the heat.  When she sees the toad, she returns to get him some water, but he is gone when she returns.  Eventually, she will give up the magic water to the toad as she comes to terms with the idea that he is where he is supposed to be, and she must return to her regular, normal life.  She will return a different person, perhaps a bit more adventurous and worldly for the experience, and with a greater appreciation with the opportunities and meaning of a life that is not forever. 

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Tuck Everlasting

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