What Is the "Tuck Everlasting" Story About?

"Tuck Everlasting," the award-winning novel by Natalie Babbitt, is about a young girl called Winnie Foster who encounters a strange family that holds the secret to immortality. But when the secret of the Tuck family is threatened, Winnie must decide between upholding the law or following her heart in order to save the natural balance of the world.

Inspired by a conversation with her then-4-year-old daughter about the young girl's fear of death, Natalie Babbitt sought to write a story that would explore the nature of life and death, or perhaps more accurately, depict how life would be without death. In Babbitt's novel, immortality seems a blessing at first to the Tucks but with time becomes a curse, because the beauty of the world comes from change and growth, and the inability to be part of that change leads to loneliness. Being unable to die, the Tuck family must forever endure the pain of losing the ones they love without any hope of rejoining them in the afterlife.

Another central theme in Tuck Everlasting concerns choices and morality, and how they are not always so black and white. Each of the characters must commit immoral acts in order to prevent a far worse catastrophe. Each must also face personal dilemmas such as whether to pursue immortality or whether to follow life's natural course to its very end.