TUCK EVERLASTING AND THE MYTH OF A FULFILLING FINITE

August 30th, 2018 | by Dylan James Harper

Tuck Everlasting is a film about the importance of death. A very rich girl, caught in what she feels is an unlived life, befriends a family of accidental immortals. When she learns their secret, and ponders giving herself eternal life, Angus Tuck, the family patriarch, talks her out of it, saying of their immortality: you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road. Thus, Tuck Everlasting, is another piece in the long built up capitalist mythos of the fulfilling finite.

 

Angus’ argument, which is effective, as the end of the story reveals that the protagonist balked, and chose to die rather than live forever, is essentially that the lack of the looming end to our lives is what gives our lives meaning. This is essentially a higher end version of the type of meme that usually reads something like the view is better if you had to grind for it. When we step back and consider the context, however, we realize how hollow this thinking really is.

 

The protagonist, Winnie, is in fact extremely wealthy. Her parents are the overbearing, stifling sort of their day, but the worst thing that ever happened to her was finding out she might have to go to boarding school. There’s no doubt that she could live a very fulfilling life, because she’ll have the ability to. Her endless resources ensure she’ll be able to hit all the life markers she sees fit to give her life meaning. Indeed, this is confirmed when the pinnacle moment of the book, when one of the Tuck’s visits her grave at the end, discovers that she did lead a fulfilling life based on the fact that her tombstone denotes she was a mother, something far easier to accomplish from a place of wealth.

 

The Tuck’s have a different kind of privilege. They effect the demeanor of a poor, working class, but with endless time, and no fear of accidental or medical death, they essentially can exist in even the cruelest society without fear of meaningful oppression, nor having to work against the clock of filling one’s time up with fruitless labor that prevents any sort of self-actualization. They don’t have to grind for their view, they just have to wait it out.

 

This is all part of the capitalist mythos that states that it’s good that everyone doesn’t have access to the world’s plentiful resources. You wouldn’t want something just handed to you right? You want to earn it! This, to be sure, is a view that is reprehensible when you consider the slightest context of the world in which we live. Think of the countless single moms who are working two or three jobs to try save up to take their kid to the doctor’s office, or the person of color whose life is cut short due to a fearful, racist, and trigger happy cop. I guarantee you, if they were given the resources or time they were robbed of, they’d be just fine with it, and have a far greater chance of any sort of fulfillment.

 

Matt Christman, of Chapo Trap House, once said “everyone deserves a chance.” Tuck Everlasting disagrees. Not everyone deserves a chance to live forever. Not everyone deserves a chance to have all the time in the world. In fact, that chance would rob life of all its meaning. For Winnie this works, because she has the closest thing to time, money. For anyone with out that money, I guess they’ll have to find meaning in their limited time.

Dylan James Harper is the Political Editor for CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Dylan at http://www.dylanjamesharper.com

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