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A Literary Survey  : How Babbitt Makes the Tucks Likable Characters

by Aaron Fong

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What a Wonderful World     by Aaron Fong, THG Alumnus    on guitar
  • Explore how Babbitt makes the Tucks likable characters in spite of the fact that they repeatedly break the law in the novel.

The Tucks blatantly contravened the law repeatedly in the novel. They kidnapped a child, took a life, and broke one of their own out of jail. Despite their various actions, the Tucks still come off as likable and people with great depths in their heart. How so? Babbitt portrays the Tucks as simple and innocent people, transparent and not twisted with the ways of the world. They are kind, generous, and mean no ill-intent to any living thing. The Tucks’ lifestyle, the environment that they live in, and their actions all add to the image of the warm and friendly family that is the Tucks.

First, the Tucks’ lifestyle; As the Tucks need the seclusion of the countryside to hide their secret, they cannot really settle down for fear of someone noticing them not aging. And so they would have to change their jobs every few years. Thus, the Tucks have only a few beloved ones, and they share a strong affectionate bond with one another. Even after having traveled so far to work, and after coming back many years later, the two boys still had their home close to their hearts. An example of this is “so gleeful were the two brothers when they arrived home that Jesse was crying, “We’re home! This is it Winnie Foster!” And he and Miles raced on and disappeared among the trees.” Also, living in isolation from civilization, the Tucks would most probably be separated from the activities and the latest trends that the world had to offer. Thus, you can say that they are free from the twisted influence of the world, with its deception and immorality. The only things they know are pure, innocent and transparent, making them easy to trust and easy to like. In a nutshell, the Tucks are family-centered, warm, friendly and trustworthy people and this is one way Babbitt makes the Tucks likable characters.

Next, Babbitt creates a very homely environment for the Tucks, namely the house and its surroundings. It was something out of the perfect and ideal world of fairy tales. “So she was unprepared for the homely little house beside the pond, unprepared for the gentle eddies of dust, the silver cobwebs, the mouse who lived in a table drawer … And still, this was not all. For on the old beamed ceiling of the parlor, streaks of light swam and danced and wavered like a bright mirage, reflected through the windows from the sunlit surface of the pond. There were daisies everywhere, gay white and yellow. And over everything was the clean sweet smell of the water and its weeds, the chatter of a swooping kingfisher, … Winnie was charmed. It was comfortable.” As can be seen from the excerpt above, the house and the surrounding environment gives the reader a yearning for themselves to be transported into the book and to share with the Tucks the magical fairy-tale-like home in which they resided.

Lastly, despite violating the law quite a number of times, the Tucks always appeared to be the good guys. Kidnapping Winnie? It was to protect the magical water’s secret from the world. Killing the man in the yellow suit? It was to stop him from taking Winnie and using her. Breaking Mae out of jail? It was to protect the world from the secret of immortality that was in Mae. In every situation where they had to break the law, the Tuck’s motives were correct and their hearts in the right place. Also, when they carried out their actions, it was always done in a humane manner. It would have been much easier to take Winnie’s life rather than to trust her, a little girl, with a secret that could change the world forever. So as can be seen, for every time they violated the law, it was in good intent, and for the greater good. This would make them the good guys, and who doesn’t love the good guys.

Goodness and compassion reign in the Tucks’ hearts, and humanity in their souls. Such pure and kind people do Babbitt portray the Tucks; it would take a lot out of anyone to dislike the Tucks.

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