Summary of Charlotte´s Web

Within the classic American children’s literature, is known by the name of Charlotte´s Web to a children’s novel, born from the pen of the American writer E.B. White, which was first published in 1952 by Harper Publishing. The illustrations for this story were by artist Garth Williams.


On the transcendence of the work

According to the critics, Charlotte´s Web has positioned itself since its publication as one of the most read American children’s books in the English language, earning it’s inscription among the children’s classics. In fact, in the year 2000, the prestigious magazine Publishers Weekly catalogued it as one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.

In this sense, some critics have pointed out that the reason why Charlotte´s Web manages to catch children and adults, beyond its easy and entertaining reading, is due to the simple and emotional way in which it deals with difficult but very human life situations, such as friendship, affection, and above all death.


In this way, according to those who recommend reading this story, Charlotte´s Web manages to touch on some topics that may be quite strong for children, but it treats them in such a natural and tender way that it manages to strip them of the veil of tragedy, to present them as they are: part of the cycle of life, of which we are all parts. It also places great value on friendship and feelings, such as those situations or values that really matter in the lives of beings.

Summary of Charlotte´s Web

With respect to the specific story of this children’s novel, it can be said that it basically tells the story between a little pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. This story begins when Fern, an eight-year-old girl, sees her father take an axe, and goes to the shed, to kill a small pig, who has been born very weak, and with little hope of surviving. In front of the image, Fern intervenes and convinces her father not to follow her plans, promising that she herself will take care of the animal until it becomes a strong and healthy pig.

Without resistance, Fern’s father agrees. This is how Wilbur manages to save his life for the first time, remaining in the care of Fern, who really dedicates herself to keep her word, taking pains to feed, protect and accompany her cute little pig whom she calls Wilbur.

In fact, Fernn’s care is so effective that two months later, Wilbur has become a young and enormous pig, which is impossible to keep in the house, so this little girl is forced to take her beloved pet, so that her uncle, who owns a farm to take care of the cute animal.

Being the first time in her life that Wilbur separates from Fernn, the first moments on the farm, her new home, are a little frightening. In addition, the animals on the farm don’t seem entirely friendly to him, which also makes him feel very lonely. However, the worst was the nights, as loneliness overwhelmed him completely. One night, while crying for his luck, he heard a fine voice saying, “I’ll be your friend, Wilbur. However, everything was so dark that the little pig couldn’t see who was talking to him.

The next morning, the little pig approached where he had heard the voice, discovering that it was a beautiful little spider that had woven its net into one corner of the barn. When she introduces herself, she does it like the Charlotte spider. Little by little between Wilbur and Charlotte a great friendship begins to grow.

During the process of getting to know each other, Wilbur hesitates for a moment to become Charlotte’s friend, when Charlotte tells him how she feeds on other insects, taking their blood. Wilbur finds this chilling, because he feels he would never hurt another being, while he doesn’t understand how a being as delicate as Charlotte can behave that way. However, the Charlotte spider shows him that this is actually part of the cycle of life, because she is not fed as he is.

One day, while Wilbur and Charlotte were enjoying their friendship, the farm begins to comment on how the farmer has decided to kill the piglet, to eat it. This of course creates great terror in the animal. Seeing him totally paralyzed with fear, Charlotte comes up with a plan to prevent this from happening. In this way, she invents writing words with her spider’s web, to make everyone believe that Wilbur is a magic pig, and not eat him.

Over time, the plan works. However, death again comes up as the theme, when Charlotte herself reveals that spiders don’t really last long, but that sharing a friendship with Wilbur, and struggling to keep him alive have managed to make their own life something great. For his part, Wilbur ends up accepting that being eaten someday is something that can be postponed, but not avoided. However, both beings also understand that they have been lucky enough to meet, accompany and appreciate each other.

Image: portrait of E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web / Source: wikipedia.org

Summary of Charlotte´s Web
Source: Education  
October 31, 2019


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