What is the Climax of Tuck Everlasting?

Instructor: Robin Small

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

In the climax of a story, the main character faces a situation that forces them to evolve. This do-or-die moment leaves the character changed forever. Let's take a look at the climax of Tuck Everlasting, and see how the story shifts after the climax.

Winnie, Helpless

Up until the climax of Tuck Everlasting, Winnie behaves like a child. She is at the mercy of her mother and grandmother, caged inside their yard. The one step she took toward independence was her exploration of the woods beside her house, but that ended with the Tucks kidnapping her. When they throw her on the horse and take her to their house, she is still just being swept away by fate. She isn't an agent in what happens to her; she has no say. Homesick, and uncertain about the Tuck's secret, Winnie nevertheless waits for rescue rather than try to escape and go home.

House by a pond
Painting of house by pond

Winnie, Tested

A man in a yellow suit shows up at the door of the Tuck's house, and the whole balance of power shifts. He knows the Tuck's secret, and he's going to market it. The Tucks listen in horror, but the final straw for Mae Tuck is when he tells them his plan to make Winnie immortal and use her as a marketing tool. Mae takes up a shotgun and knocks the man out. The family stares down at him, wondering if she has killed him.

Then, the sheriff turns up. Now Winnie's chance for rescue has arrived. He will take her back to her mother and grandmother, and away from the Tucks. The spring of water that makes people immortal, Mae's assault on the man in the yellow suit, none of these things are her problems. Unless she decides that they are; and she does. The Tucks are her friends, and she believes the spring should be kept secret, and she believes the man in the yellow suit was doing an evil thing, and she believes the Tucks are good people. In a split second decision, she tells the sheriff, 'They didn't kidnap me…I came because I wanted to.'(102).

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