Tuesday, November 8, 2011


     In this excerpt from E. B. White's Charlotte's Web, White is making a statement about life and the people that move in and out of it.  It is clear in the beginning that Wilbur and Charlotte are very good friends.  They obviously fulfill each other's lives and have many meaningful conversations.  This is a characteristic that is different from the other Realistic works we have read in which the people have no connection to each other and simply go about their own lives.  Wilbur and Charlotte are different though.  They cannot imagine life apart which is best seen when Wilbur discovers that Charlotte is dying and begins to hysterically break down crying.  Charlotte makes it clear when talking to Wilbur that he has made her life a little more meaningful just by being there for her and being a true friend- "'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte.  'That in itself is a tremendous thing.'"  I think White is making the statement that without a few true friendships, life is virtually meaningless and it is easily forgotten once it is gone.
     The act of Wilbur saving Charlotte's offspring is the ultimate symbol of his love and their friendship.  Once Wilbur realizes that their is no way around Charlotte's impending death, he desperately searches for something to keep her around even after she is gone which of course is her 514 children that will soon be born.  Templeton then enters the story and I think represents the skeptical, cynical people in life that are reluctant to help others and really only agree to help when there is a reward for them in the end.  It is obvious that Wilbur's emotions of desperation and anger do not phase Templeton at all.  He is like the people in life who are unmotivated, lazy, and have a hard heart.  They are moved by very little.
     Charlotte's death is the perfect illustration of the raw act of dying.  She dies alone without any of her friends or children there.  Not only is she physically dying, but the world around her is "dying" as well.  The fair grounds are being torn down and it actually looks "forlorn."   Charlotte dies in the background just like she lived.  I think White was trying to paint the perfect illustration of how death really is.  It is a painful, isolating process that goes virtually unnoticed by those around you.
     But even though White painted a perfect picture of death, he also painted a perfect picture of life (the scenes of the barn and farm).  Life is good in the barn with the animals that he interacts with and his owner Mr. Zuckerman taking care of him for the rest of his life.  Wilbur never forgets Charlotte and none of the other spiders can take her place in his heart.  White is trying to say here that some things in life change and move on, like Charlotte dying and Fern growing up and out of childhood things like the barn, but some things stay the same like the barn life in general.  But these things that enter into our life and then leave, change us forever; they change our outlook on life.  Wilbur will never forget Charlotte and it is obvious that their friendship has changed his heart and life forever.


  1. I really do agree with your blog posting, Emily. This story is certainly one that deals closely with topics of life and friendship.

  2. You make a good point about how EB White protrayes death. It goes unnoticed by those around you. I completely agree with that.