University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

Field of Philosophy: Ethics; Metaphysics

Plot Summary: Tuck Everlasting is the story of the Tuck family, who have discovered a secret spring whose water prevents one from ever growing older. In Chapter 12, Winnie Foster, a 12 year-old girl who, who has stumbled upon the Tuck’s secret, and made friends with the Tuck’s son, Jesse (who appears to be about 17, but who is actually 104 years old) has a conversation with Jesse about time, the meaning of life, and what it means to never grow old. Winnie is tempted to drink from the spring herself, but Jesse explores with her what it would mean to be immortal and how living outside of the wheel of life presents its own challenges. Jesse reveals that he would like to grow again and change and tries to make Winnie understand that dying is an essential part of life, even if the prospect of it is frightening.

Some discussion questions:

Would you drink from the spring of immortality? Why or why not?
What would life be like if we didn’t die?
What is time?
What is the meaning of life?
What does it mean to grow up?
Why is death frightening?
What would happen if no one ever died?
How do we make other people understand our point of view?
How are things connected?
If you could be one age forever, what age would it be?