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Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

What would it be like to live forever? Most of us, if we think of eternal life, see it either in generally vague religious terms or as a sort of wish fulfillment fantasy. Our vision of such a life includes the assumption of either a transcendent wisdom which will eliminate all the problems of our current lives or eternal youth, a sort of never-ending summer vacation. But what if, as Babbitt suggests, immortality simply froze people at the age they were when they drank from the fountain? What would it be like going on forever as a tired, late middle aged man or woman? As a frustrated husband, still in his prime, but forever separated from his family? As a naive and energetic adolescent, never quite coming of age?

It was a new idea to her that people could live in such disarray, but at the same time she was charmed.
Winnie Foster, a young girl just on the edge of adolescence, is intensely frustrated by the boundaries which her parents have placed on her life. She...

(The entire section is 349 words.)