Miles in Tuck Everlasting

Instructor: Robin Small

Robin has a BA/MAT in English Ed, and teaches 6th grade English and Writing Lab.

The older of two brothers, Miles might not be quite as good-looking as Jesse, but he is important to Winnie. Read on to find out who he is, how he differs from the other members of his family, and how his character helps shape the story.

'Almost as Beautiful'

When Winnie first sees Miles, he is described as 'a young man almost as beautiful as Jesse' (30). Taller and older than Jesse, he tries to comfort Winnie while they lead her away on the back of the Tucks' horse. Jesse has a lot to say, but when Miles speaks, his gentleness and caring are apparent.

Love Lost

Miles helped tell Winnie the story of the spring of water that stopped them from aging and the Tucks' slowly dawning understanding of what had happened to them. The saddest part of the story is not the accusations of witchcraft from neighbors or the Tucks' alienation from their friends, but how Miles's unchanging youth cost him his wife and children. Miles recounts his loss: 'My wife, she finally made up her mind I'd sold my soul to the Devil. She left me. She went away and she took the children with her' (39).

Jesse talks about the benefits of never aging, and Miles counters with, 'I just think you ought to take it more serious' (43). Winnie warms up to the Tucks after hearing their secret and goes with them willingly to their home. Miles holds her hand as they go, and when she is tired from the journey to their house, he carries her. 'Winnie put vanity aside and dozed gratefully in Miles's strong arms, her own arms wound around his neck' (46). She leans on him physically and symbolically, and when she has to make difficult choices about immortality, his quiet strength is an example for her.

Fishing with Miles

Winnie and Miles are the first ones awake after her restless night on the Tucks' couch. She is still reeling from Jesse's proposal that she wait until she's seventeen, drink some of the water, and marry him. Jesse tells her, 'Life's to enjoy yourself, isn't it? What else is it good for?' (72). Miles has a different take on things, and while he and Winnie fish, they talk.

Looking at Miles, Winnie notes some of the differences between him and his little brother. His hair is neatly cut, and his hands are clean but rough looking, the hands of a working man. Winnie reminds him of his daughter, and they discuss why and how he didn't end up giving his wife or children the immortal water. Then, after a silence, they start to talk about the frogs. Miles tells her about all the things that eat the frogs, and Winne remarks, 'It'd be nice if nothing ever had to die' (85).

The Downside of Immortality

Miles takes this opportunity to point out the dark side of immortality. He tells Winnie the world would be too packed full if nothing ever died. Mosquitoes on the pond help make Miles' point, and she thinks that mosquitoes that live forever would be terrible. She decides that the water is a dangerous thing. She wants to know what he will do with immortality, since he's stuck with it. He tells her he wants to do something important someday. Winnie's connection with Miles is cemented here, because she shares his desire to do something meaningful with her life.

Miles says, 'The way I see it… it's no good hiding yourself away, like Pa and lots of other people. And it's no good just thinking of your own pleasure, either. People got to do something useful if they're going to take up space in the world' (87).

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