A majority of the story takes place at the Tuck's cabin near a pond, outside of Treegap. The Tucks live a simple life and want to keep the secret of the eternal-life-giving stream to themselves. They fear knowledge of the stream would destroy the balance of the natural world. The setting is a "plain, homely house" with a "charming disarray," but the Tucks aren't happy with their strange, immortal existence. Babbitt uses the setting to help readers feel comfortable with the Tucks and their friendships with Winnie, despite the Tucks' struggle with their immortality.
Setting the Climax of the Story
The climax of the story and Winnie's potentially life-altering decision occurs at the Treegap jail. The jail setting is cold and harsh, adding suspense to the story. Winnie must help the Tucks rescue their matriarch, Mae, when she's arrested and sentenced to death. When Winnie takes Mae's place in jail, she receives a vial of the magical water to drink when she turns 17. Instead, she chooses mortality. She doesn't find solace in immortality and wants to live a natural life.