Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Inc.
Number of pages: 184
Charlotte’s Web opens the door to a
magical world, which a young girl named Fern finds herself a
part of. Fern spends her free time with Wilbur the pig whom
she loves and the other barn animals who play a large part in
the life of Wilbur. Charlotte A. Cavatica, the large grey
spider, befriends Wilbur and helps him deal with the shocking
news that his life will end as bacon on someone’s plate.
Charlotte goes as far as coming up with an interesting plan
that only this spider could carry out with the help of
Templeton the rat (who never does anything unless there is
something in it for himself) to help Wilbur escape death.
Charlotte responds to Wilbur’s need for a
friend and dedicates herself to saving his life through the
ingenious ploy of spinning words in her web.
"You have been my friend…That in itself is a tremendous
thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After
all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little
while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of
a mess, with all the trapping and catching flies. By helping
you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle.
Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that."
Charlotte is wiser than Wilbur so she
cares for him with something that resembles maternal love.
She tells Wilbur bedtime stores and sings him lullabies,
teaches him manners, tells him to chew his "food
thoroughly and eat every bit of it", encourages him when
he is down, and builds up his confidence for the day when he
must stand on his own four feet without the benefit of her
Charlotte gives constant thought to how
she will fulfill her promise to save Wilbur’s life. "Day
after day the spider waited, head-down, for an idea to come
to her. …Charlotte was naturally patient". And like a
wise teacher Charlotte gives her pupil as much as he can
absorb and not more. She guides him to the point when he
must take possession of himself and make independent
This book is especially good for first time
readers who have taken the big jump from short stories to a
real novel. It is easy reading and the talking animals
captivate the young children.
Note: For an in-depth study of the
relationship between Charlotte and Wilbur, one can consult
with profit Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen
Guroian, p. 97-102. The analysis of the main points of
Charlotte’s Web was taken from this author.