Tuck Everlasting Prologue

Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has a bachelor's degree in literature and religious studies and a master's degree in religious studies and teaches Hebrew Bible at Western Kentucky University.

This lesson will explore the Prologue of ''Tuck Everlasting'' which establishes the time period, location, and important events behind the plot of the novel.

Tuck Everlasting Prologue

Setting and Context

The Prologue of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting is a gripping and mysterious set-up for the novel. Babbitt establishes the setting and context of the novel in a few pages by mentioning the time, location, and events. She introduces us to the main characters of the story but leaves the details vague so readers must wait to learn more about them as the plot unfolds.

Time

Babbitt begins the novel by writing, ''The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.'' We learn that the book is set in the summer, which is ''motionless, and hot'' as well as ''curiously silent.'' August is important for the carefree and responsibility-free nature of the plot and the opportunity to be outdoors helps drive the story. The Prologue is set in 1880, as we learn from the end of the novel's revelation of Winnie Foster being born in 1870 and that she is ten years old when the book begins. This time period complements the summer setting to provide a sense of quiet and carefreeness because of the lack of industrialism.

Location

The Prologue reveals that the novel will be set in and around Treegap. Treegap is dissociated with any country or continent, providing a fantastical world with endless possibilities. We find that there is a wood or forest outside Treegap and that Treegap is a village in which the Foster family live. The Fosters own the wood outside of Treegap, even though we find it a central location for the unfolding plot of the novel. Babbitt writes about the events leading up to the plot, saying, ''The wood was at the center, the hub of a wheel.'' She compares the wood to a Ferris wheel hub and the sun and says these ''fixed points'' are responsible for holding things together.

Events

After establishing the setting in August of 1880, Babbitt explains, ''One day at that time, not so very long ago, three things happened and at first there appeared to be no connection between them.'' The first event occurs at dawn when Mae Tuck rides a horse to the Treegap wood in order to meet her sons, Miles Tuck and Jesse Tuck. According to Babbitt, ''She was going there, as she did once every ten years.'' This mysterious meeting raises many questions for the reader that are developed as the novel progresses: Who are the Tucks? Why does Mae Tuck only visit every ten years? How old are Miles and Jesse?

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