Tuck Everlasting Chapter 4 Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In chapter four of 'Tuck Everlasting' by Natalie Babbitt, Winnie meets a stranger who is passing by their home. In this lesson, we will learn more about this exchange.

The Stranger

What do you do when someone you have never met starts a conversation with you? In the fourth chapter of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Winnie Foster, the protagonist of this story, is catching fireflies when a stranger walks by and starts talking to her. Let's learn more about chapter four.

Catching Fireflies

Earlier in the day, Winnie spoke with a frog about her frustrations with feeling imprisoned in her own home by her overprotective mother and grandmother. She expressed her wish to run away. As evening approaches, Winnie makes her way back outside and is catching fireflies when a stranger stops to observe her. When he speaks to her, Winnie walks towards him to begin a conversation. Winnie assumes he is there to see her father, but the man says, '… I'd like to talk to you first. Have you and your family lived here long?'

Searching for a Family

After Winnie explains that her grandmother was born in that house, the man divulges that he is looking for a family that lives nearby. Winnie tries to refer him to her father, when her grandmother comes outside and sees Winnie talking to the stranger. Visibly upset, Winnie's grandmother brings her inside and chastises the stranger, saying that neither her granddaughter nor she had any interest in speaking to a stranger about their neighbors. Just as they are about to go inside, they are interrupted by the tinkling sound of a music box.

Grandmother's Elves

'Did you hear that, Winifred? That's it! That's the elf music I told you about. Why, it's been ages since I heard it last. And this is the first time you've ever heard it, isn't it? Wait till we tell your father!' says grandmother. The man is intrigued that grandmother has heard this music before. When Winnie suggests that it is the sound of a music box, grandmother dismisses her, saying that it is the sound of elves. Grandmother rushes Winnie inside so they can tell Winnie's father.

Grandmother believes the music comes from elves.

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