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Charlotte’s Web

June 30th, 2004 · 1 Comment

The girls and I have finished reading Charlotte’s Web. They’ve enjoyed it to the point of assigning roles from the book to each other. Michaela often ends up as Wilbur while either Elisabeth or Abigail is Charlotte. Sometimes Abigail is Fern or sometimes she is Mr. Zuckerman. The girls have been talking about the end of the story and drawing pictures of baby spiders with pencil strokes for legs.

I imagine it’s been at least twenty years since I read E.B. White’s tale. And I think that when I read it the first time, I probably saw it as a story about a spider who could write. But as an adult reading it, I found riches. It’s a story of childhood and childishness, selfishness and sacrifice, greed and glory, pigs and people. Oh if I could give as much to a friend as Charlotte did to hers! The book also has extra meaning, now that the word “web” has additional definition.

Some quotes.

  • “If I can fool a bug,” thought Charlotte, “I can certainly fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs.” p. 67
  • “The message I wrote in my web, praising Wilbur, has been received. ..People believe almost anything they see in print”…. Charlotte p. 87, 89
  • “Charlotte needs new ideas so she can write messages in her web and save Wilbur’s life.” the old sheep, p. 90
  • “…It is quite possible that an animal has spoken civilly to me and that I didn’t catch the remark because I wasn’t paying attention. Children pay better attention than grownups….Perhaps if people talked less, animals would talk more….” Dr. Dorian p. 110

    And wonderful descriptive passages of barnyard life and seasons such as this one from the end of the book….warning: spoiler below

    Life in the barn was very good – night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure and the glory of everything.

    Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. [...] She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

  • Tags: books

    1 response so far ↓

    • 1 Katherine // Jun 30, 2004 at 6:58 am

      I love this book. I remember crying and crying when I read it at about age 10. Jason has enjoyed reading it. Emily has seen the video about 20 times, and I’m sure she’ll read the book soon.