Tuck Everlasting Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Natalie Babbitt

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Throughout Tuck Everlasting are references to the "wheel of life," a concept used since ancient times to explain everything from the change of the seasons to the change of human fortunes. Research the various ways in which the concept has been used in the past and compare them to Babbitt's usage.

2. Throughout the novel Babbitt sets up a contrast between the restricted world of Winnie's fenced-in home and the freedom of the outside world. Part of Winnie's moral dilemma involves her need to choose between these two. Discuss this contrast and the way in which Winnie deals with it. Does she opt entirely for one or the other? Does she, in the end, make a compromise?

3. Although the Tucks' lifestyle seems very simple, Babbitt carefully balances its positive and negative aspects. There is much about the way the Tucks live that Winnie finds attractive, but there is also much that seems appalling or boring. Discuss the Tucks' lifestyle, highlighting its positive and negative aspects.

4. Could Winnie ultimately have been happy with Jesse? Should she have waited until she was old enough and then drunk the water of eternal life? Using material from the novel, give reasons for your opinion. What would their life together have been like? Does it seem likely that they would have stayed with Mae and Angus Tuck, or do you think they would have gone a different direction?

5. Generally it is assumed that children and young adults prefer to read about characters who are their own age or a few years older than they are. Winnie Foster is around eleven years old, but some critics have argued that the ideas in Tuck Everlasting are too difficult for preteens to deal with. How would you respond to that statement? Is Tuck Everlasting a children's book or a book for young adults? Aside from the age of the main character, what is there about the book which would seem to make it uniquely suited for either a younger or an older readership?