Introduction: Charlotte’s Web by E B White
Reading the literary classics is a delight, and makes me realize how little I know. First published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web by E B White (Elwyn Brooks White, July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985)) – also the author of Stuart Little – is a story about the cycle of life, love, friendship and loyalty.
The Story: Charlotte’s Web by E B White
Mr Arable’s pig births a litter of pigs, one of which is a runt. The farmer intends to kill the runt, but his eight year old daughter Fern saves the pig and starts to nurse him to health. Fern is quite intelligent, and makes the argument that if she had been small at birth if her dad would have killed her. Fern names the piglet Wilbur.
Whenever you name a farm animal, it now has an identity, and makes it very difficult to slaughter. The pig responds to Fern’s nurturing, and when it gets bigger and stronger, her dad sells it for $6 to her uncle Homer L. Zuckerman. Every day, Fern visits Wilbur at her uncle’s farm, and in no time, gets to know all the barn animals who have now grown to love and trust her.
Wilbur is lonely at the Zuckerman’s farm, and is starving for love. Charlotte A. Cavatica, the spider, befriends Wilbur, and they become great friends. The pig is very curious, and Charlotte who is quite intelligent patiently explains things to him. Wilbur is fed very well and is growing by leaps and bounds. However, he is also quite naïve, not understanding his fate. He doesn’t understand and realize that he is being fattened for slaughter.
When the other animals enlighten Wilbur on his fate, he is quite distraught. Charlotte tells him to leave the matter with her, and she will find a solution. She weaves a web, and in the centre writes ‘Some Pig’ and everyone believes that there is something special about Wilbur. Many travel from afar to view this special pig.
Charlotte asks Templeton, the rat, to go to the dump and retrieve some clippings to stimulate her mind on what to weave next about her friend. She subsequently weaves ‘Terrific’, ‘Radiant’ and ‘Humble.’ In spite of all the notoriety, Wilbur never becomes conceited and the interesting thing is that he becomes what others perceive him to be – he grows into the roles.
Although Charlotte’s life force is slipping away, she makes the effort to accompany Wilbur to the fair. She is unable to return home because she is at death’s door, and with the assistance of Templeton, Wilbur is able to retrieve her egg sac and take care of them until they are born.
Conclusion: Charlotte’s Web by E B White
Charlotte’s Web by E B White teaches us about relationships and how they work. We also learn about deep friendships, “friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world.”
“We’re born, we live a little, we die.” I recommend Charlotte’s Web ((E.B. White: Charlotte’s Web/ Stuart Little/ Trumpet of the Swan)).