ESL 136-TuckEverlastingMAIN_THEMES

ESL 136-TuckEverlastingMAIN_THEMES - Theres always one best...

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“There’s always one best word, if you listen for it.” —Natalie Babbitt N atalie Babbitt is an artist in more ways than one. Known by many people for her descriptive, metaphorical writing, she is less well known for her beautiful illustrations. However, it was this passion that involved her in children’s books in the rst place. f Born in Dayton, Ohio, on July 28, 1932, Natalie Zane Moore [Babbitt] came into the world at the height of the Great Depression. Thanks to her parents, though, she and her sister enjoyed a life lled with good times, books, and loads of lovi f ng encouragement. Natalie loved drawing from an early age. Though she read books constantly, she had very little interest in writing them. She wanted only to illustrate, to bring words to life. She dreamed of capturing imaginations the very same way her imagination had been taken captive by the illustrations in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of her favorite books. With her mother’s support, Natalie was able to develop her passion and her talent. She also had a great deal of support from her teachers . Natalie Babbitt is perhaps best known for her magical book, Tuck Everlasting. Babbitt has brought books to life for children just as she had always hoped she would. She has created worlds that mesh fantasy and reality. She allows readers to go to places that might not be real exactly, but are certainly true to life. “Winnie blinked, and all at once her mind was drowned with understanding of what he was saying. For she—yes, even she—would go out of the world willy-nilly someday. Just go out, like the flame of a candle, and no use protesting. It was a certainty.” —Tuck Everlasting T here comes a moment in all young people’s lives when they realize that they are not going to live forever. Whether the thought is prompted by the death of a beloved pet or of a relative or friend, the realization changes the person. This is why Natalie Babbitt felt compelled to write about death—or in this case, life without death and its implications. Babbitt says, “I think it’s something that everyone thinks of from the time when they realize they can’t [live forever]. Even before you’re six because you have a pet or a grandmother [whom you’ve lost] and you begin to wonder about it. So I thought it would be interesting to write a book about real people, ordinary people—not like the people in fairy tales who are always living happily ever after. But, what would [living forever] really be like in the real world.” In Tuck Everlasting, Babbitt created Winnie, a character who feels that her life is meaningless and boring. The prospect
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of living forever is exciting to her. In the course of the novel, as she gets to know the Tucks, Winnie listens to different opinions about eternal life: Jesse is hopeful, Miles is realistic, Mae is determined, and Angus is depressed. Winnie comes to understand that eternal life might be a curse and not a blessing. This novel is Babbitt’s way of introducing the life cycle and
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ESL 136-TuckEverlastingMAIN_THEMES - Theres always one best...

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