Charlotte's Web

by: E.B. White, 1952

Plot Summary

This fictional story is about a pig named Wilbur who was happily raised by a girl named Fern. Fern took care of Wilbur until he was too big to live in the house. Fern was not going to raise Wilbur anymore. So now Wilbur is a barn pig and Fern does not need to take care of Wilbur. Wilbur is sad and lonely until he meets Charlotte, the beautiful gray spider who also lives in the barn with him.

Soon Wilbur finds out that he is going to be slaughtered for bacon and pork. Wilbur is devastated and does not want to die. Charlotte thinks of many ways to stop Wilbur's unpleasant fate. Her clever schemes that stop Wilbur from being killed will leave you smiling.

The Setting

The story takes place in Mr. Zuckerman's barn. Wilbur was born in the spring but spent most of his time in the barn throughout the remainder of the year. There are a lot of other animals in the barn including the rat Temptation the goose, Charlotte, and Wilbur. All of these animals help Wilbur overcome his fears and untimely fate. If the setting did not take place in the barn Wilbur would have meet his helpful friends. The outcome of the story is directly related to the setting. Farm life is scary for some animals, but clever Charlotte made Wilbur's life last a lot longer. That mad Wilbur more safe at the barn.

Charlotte

This clever spider was loyal and very kind. The story shows that she was clever and kind because she helped Wilbur with the crisis that was going to happen. Charlotte was the protagonist because she was a person who brought joy and not conflict. Charlotte also was confident. She knew that Wilbur was going to die, but she was strong and told Wilbur that he was not going to die. At the end of the story Wilbur ended up living because Charlotte had faith. Charlotte was definitely the most thoughtful character in this story. She was a smart little grey spider. She wrote words in her webs that displayed how great of a pig Wilbur was. She did this not only to encourage Wilbur but also to trick Zuckerman into sparing Wilbur's life. Charlotte is a really caring character.

Wilbur

Wilbur is a very friendly pig. As soon as the goose hatched her goslings Wilbur wanted to be friends with the runt named Jeffery. He had great compassion for young Jeffery because Wilbur was also a runt and nearly killed because of this. Wilbur was very energetic. One time he saw that Charlotte could spin a web so Wilbur tried to spin a web as well. As you can imagine that did not turn out that well because he is a pig not a spider. Although, this caring pig looked after three of Charlotte's kids after Charlotte died. All of these character traits prove that Wilbur is a protagonist in this story.

Homer Zuckerman

This hard working farmer failed to see what a joy Wilbur was to Fern and all of the farm animals. He was very dedicated to his farm yet he never took a personal liking to any of the animals. Homer is the antagonist because he was the one who planned to kill Wilbur. Its not that he didn't like Wilbur, but he was just doing what farmers do. Zuckerman was very naive and allowed himself to be convinced by a spider's web to spare Wilbur's life. Although Zuckerman played the role of the antagonist, at the end of the story he changed his mind. He kept Wilbur to a ripe old age.

Point of View

This kid-friendly story is written in the third person point of view. This is important because of the number of characters in the story. The author would have to choose one of the characters if it was told from the first person point of view. If it was told in first person you would get a lot more opinions about the other characters. Whereas the third person allows us to decide whether we like a character or not. If I was the author I would have chosen the exact same point of view.

Conflict

The main conflict is when Wilbur was scared that he was going to be killed by Zuckerman. I think that that is more of a external because Wilbur was going to die and he was scared. I would have been afraid too if I was Wilbur. I don't think that the conflict was internal because there was not conflict in his head it was mostly him knowing that he was going to die. Wilbur in the end did not die. The conflict was resolved because of Charlotte's helpful deeds.

The Theme

Never judge a book by its cover. This quote is perfect for this story because all of the barn animals were prejudice toward Charlotte. Charlotte was a little spider and all the animals thought she could not do anything great just because she was littler than all of the other animals. She befriended Wilbur and proved everyone wrong.