On foggy mornings, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty. This morning each thin strand was decorated with dozens of tiny beads of water. The web glistened in the light and made a pattern of loveliness and mystery, like a delicate veil. Narrator, p. 73
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Year 6 2014 Charlotte's Web
About the Author
E.B. White was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and went to public schools there. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921, worked in New York for a year, then traveled about. After five or six years of trying many sorts of jobs, he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. In 1938, Mr. White moved to the country. On his farm in Maine he kept animals, and some of these creatures got into his stories and books. White was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his children's books Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web. His third children's book, The Trumpet of the Swan, was honored by The International Board on Books for Young People as an outstanding example of literature with international importance. He wrote a total of 20 books of prose and poetry! Mr. White died on October 1, 1985.
Major Themes •
The Natural World
The novel is set on two farms: first the Arable’s and then the Zuckerman’s. Apart from their trip to the fair, the animals and the families are located here. Although the animals talk in this novel, White makes sure that they are presented as realistic creatures. It is important that we recognise Charlotte as a spider even though she can talk like a human.
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As we have already discussed, the novel is set on the farm but the trip to the Fair is extremely significant. When the characters in Charlotte’s Web go to the Fair, changes take place and they are not the same when they return home. In the morning everyone washes and dresses for the occasion. Fern chooses her prettiest dress because she knows there will be boys at the fair. Fern spends a lot of time with Henry Fussy at the Fair and we mark the shift in Fern’s interest. Before this point we do not see her with any friends other than those at the barn but now she is indifferent to Wilbur’s success and much more interested in journeying on the Ferris wheel with Henry.
Wilbur’s success at the Fair tells us that he will be safe and will not be harmed by Zuckerman. Charlotte makes her egg sac at the Fair and then dies.
When Wilbur returns to the farm, the farm is completely different without Charlotte and there is a sac of baby spiders he has to take care of.
Charlotte as Author
Charlotte is a writer and the author of the miracles that take place. By writing in her web, Charlotte creates a story in the adult’s heads that doesn’t really exist. They think that the writing is a miracle and that Wilbur really is “some pig” and for that reason they take him to the Fair.
Charlotte opens their imaginations so much that they create and completely believe in this fantasy story.
Charlotte is therefore in some way the author of our story. The story of Charlotte’s web is written by Charlotte in order to save Wilbur. The novel is called "Charlotte's Web" and not “Wilbur’s Success” because she is its author.
Friendship is the foundation of this novel. Without Fern’s love for Wilbur he would have been killed as a runt and without Charlotte’s love he would be served up on the Christmas dinner table. Wilbur is ultimately saved (twice) by love -- a fundamentally optimistic message. Test yourself ! 3|P a g e
Characters Have a look at the characters and say something about each Templeton Lamb Goose Lurvy Mr Homer Zuckerman Mr Arable Fern Avery Wilbur Gander Charlotte Mrs Arable Mrs Edith Zuckerman The Minister Joy, Aranea and Nellie Henry Fussy Dr Dorian Uncle
In Charlotte's Web, White illustrates the power of love and creativity in contrast with material success and status. After all, a runt pig (who promises nothing when it is born) becomes the object of fame and success essentially because of the love given to him by Fern and Charlotte. Although the humans in the novel think they have been blessed with an extraordinary pig, what they witness is extraordinary love between Charlotte and Wilbur, and that itself is the miracle of the story.
Writing Wilbur has two great friends in the novel: Fern and Charlotte.
Write a short paragraph explaining why Wilbur has such good friends.
Write another paragraph explaining why you think friendship is important. (50 words)
A Venn diagram helps you compare two things. •
Compare farms to cities. (In the outer circles, write things about them that are different. In the centre circle, write things that are alike
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Summarize the differences and similarities on the lines below.
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