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Winnie Foster is the 10-year-old main protagonist of the novel. Unhappy with how overprotective her family is, Winnie runs away from home and is taken away by the Tucks, an eccentric family of immortal humans. As the novel progresses, Winnie is faced with her fair share of conflicts; however, perhaps the most important is her internal conflict over immortality. Despite her young age, Winnie finds herself having to think about life and death, and whether eternal life is worth the risk of eternal unhappiness.
Jesse Tuck is the first member of the Tuck family which Winnie encounters. She finds him drinking from a spring which he refuses to let her drink from, and is immediately captivated by him. Jesse stopped aging at age 17 and is therefore described as being very good-looking, despite being 104. Jesse enjoys immortality unlike his father, and later in the novel he gives Winnie some water from the spring so that she may become immortal. However, Winnie chooses not to drink it.
Angus Tuck is the leader of the Tuck family, the husband of Mae and the father of Jesse and Miles. He wishes he and his family had never become immortal and, unlike his son Jesse, longs for death. Upon seeing Winnie’s grave at the end of the novel, Angus seems to be relieved that she chose mortality.
Mae Tuck is Angus’s wife and the mother of Jesse and Miles. Mae seems to be realistic about her and her family’s situation, and tells Angus that there is no use longing for death when it is unattainable. Mae is also the one to attack (and kill) the man in the yellow suit when he threatens to take over the spring, sell the water, and force Winnie to drink the water and become immortal. For her actions, Mae ends up in jail, but is broken out by Winnie and the rest of the Tucks. Mae is with Angus at the end of the novel when he visits Winnie’s grave.
Miles Tuck is Mae and Angus’s older son. After realizing that Miles is not aging, his wife and children abandon him. Although he does not seem to loathe immortality as much as his father, he also does not seem to appreciate it as much as Jesse does. When Miles takes Winnie fishing, he talks to her about immortality and how although he might seem like a pretty good deal, it isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.
The Man in the Yellow Suit
The man in the yellow suit is the main antagonist of the novel. After witnessing the Tucks “kidnapping” Winnie, the man starts formulating his evil plots to gain land and money. Later in the novel the man steals the Tucks’ horse and returns to the Fosters’ home, where he makes Winnie’s parents give up their land in exchange for Winnie’s safety. Since the spring is on the Fosters’ land, he now possesses the spring, and plans to sell the water to the public in addition to forcing Winnie to drink some. In response, Mae Tuck kills him by hitting him over the head with a shotgun.
The constable arrests Mae when she kills the man in the yellow suit. However, as he seems to be rather absent-minded, she is able to be broken out easily by Winnie and the rest of the Tucks.
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"How old are you, anyway?' she asked, squinting at him. There was a pause. At last he said, 'Why do you want to know?' I just wondered,' said Winnie. All right. I'm one hundred and four years old,' he told her solemnly. No, I mean really,' she...