Tuck Everlasting Chapter 12 Summary

Instructor: Robin Small

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

Still feeling pangs of homesickness, even after a friendly meal with the Tucks, Winnie agrees to go out on the rowboat with Angus Tuck. Chapter 12 of ''Tuck Everlasting'' focuses on their excursion together out the pond.

The Importance of Nature

Angus Tuck paddles the boat away from shore. The pond is quiet and peaceful, except for the sounds of birds, water lapping at the oars, and a bullfrog. Winnie has time to take in the scenery around her before Tuck slows the boat and lets it drift. This scene in chapter 12 of Tuck Everlasting, which features nature and the perfection of its systems, is important to what Tuck wants to explain to Winnie.

Tuck takes Winnie out onto the pond to explain

Tuck's Explanation

'Know what that is all around us, Winnie?' said Tuck, his voice low. 'Life. Moving, growing, changing…' (61). They drift a while longer, and then he talks about how water evaporates, forms clouds, becomes raindrops, and falls back down to evaporate again. The water cycle is a wheel, Tuck explains, and so is everything else. The wheel means the cycle of life and death, and that's the way the world is supposed to work. 'The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on,' (62).

Nature meant it to be that way, but the water that the Tuck family discovered, the water that kept them from ever changing and ever dying, has removed them from the cycle, and removed them from nature. When you aren't a part of death anymore, then you aren't really a part of life anymore either.

Winnie's Realization

Listening to Angus talk, Winnie begins to think about her own mortality. This shakes her, 'For she- yes, even she- would go out of the world willy-nilly someday. Just go out, like the flame of a candle, and no use protesting,' (63). Upset, she tells Tuck, 'I don't want to die,' (63).

Tuck is determined to get through to Winnie the importance of keeping this changeless water secret. It's not right or natural for people to be outside of the cycle, and they miss out on the real experience of living. If you aren't changing, if you aren't growing, and if you aren't slowly moving toward death, you are missing out.

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