A runt is a term used in relations to an unusually small animal and is often used in relation to animals in a litter. It is often very noticeable as not only out of its small size compared to other members in a litter but also out of its inability to thrive; inability to compete with the others for warmth and food. Wilber is born a runt and as such the Arable seek to kill him as he is thought to be unimportant and weak. However Fern represents the voice of reason and begs his father not kill him but instead give him up as a pet. Fern takes care of him for five weeks, protecting him form his father’s cruelty. She showers care, love and gives him a sense of belonging that everyone including children and adults craves for. Ferns parents are represented as the stronger members in a litter. As such they their position matter as opposed to Fern are who is just a mere child. Fern eventfully gives up Wilber for sale at his father command. Mrs. Arable for example thinks that Fern has a psychological problem when she tells her that animals what the animals talk about and as a result holds a discussion with Dr. Dorian about the problem. His answer is contrary to what she would have expected as he tells her that t is likely that kids pay more attention than adults.
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Both Fern’s and Wilber’s fears are in relation to death. Wilber fears that his life will be taken from him, firstly by the Fern’s father and later by Mr. Zuckerman as a Christmas meal. When he is sure about the death threats, he gets overly anxious, making Charlotte to devise a plan to rescue him. She tells him to behave like as a good and terrific pig.
Fern is also worried about death too and as such Wilber’s well being becomes central to her interest. Early on, for example when Wilber is moved in the open form her comfortable crib, Fern is worried about his well being given the harsh environment especially the cold. However her father reassures her that it will be fine; that she should just stay back and watch Wilber survival tactics. He indeed craws into the tunnel and disappears from sight, completely sheltered from the cold. There fear of death is also central to Hansel and Gretel situation. They risk dying from starvation and latter a cannibalistic witch. Their stepmother considers them runts in the light of food scarcity. Getting rid of the two children by abandoning them in the forest would mean that, they would not dye from starvation. Ferns fears represent reality which dictates survival for the fittest.
The Dynamic tension presented in the chapter Escape is about life realities. Wilber finds himself in an unfamiliar territory-the barn-with all the noise from the animals. However there is the spider that offers to be his friend and since he in the dark cannot seen it. The fear in him is apparent in his inability to sleep. The birth of little geese is also dashed with fear and the author makes sure that the reader is threatened by the rat’s loose morals. However Templetion saves the only dud and rotten thing described in the chapter- he keeps the egg that cannot hutch and in so doing reminds us of the untapped potential in life. We learn that given a chance everyone one has great potential to be good. There also be absolute harmony between man and nature- the hay grows and it is cut and stored in the loft and there is great affinity between the children and the animals.
Charlottes becomes not only Wilber’s friend but also his savior. Importance of friendships is brought to the fore. At the end Wilber makes sure that charlotte legacy survives by saving her eggs, he has come to understand that death is a normal life process and understands that charlottes death is timely and un inevitable. That said he does not start to grieve of his friend’s death but chooses to move on by firstly saving charlottes eggs.
Wilber is sweet natured and values relationship and as such what he wants is not food but love. The need for love and a sense of belonging is central to the book.Out of love, we are able to be good to others and care about their well being. Charlotte is patient with Wilber even as he lets him learn that he cannot spin.g on his tail has he mimicked to make a web.
Food is basic need for all and something has to die for food to be obtained. The spider spins its web to catch insects for food, without which it could die. Wilberforce is also scared that he is going to be on Zuckerman dinner table for Christmas if Charlotee does not come up with a rescue mission. Food is important to every one and as such death results as animals and human look for it to survive..
Templeton only helps Charlotte and Wilber when his interest are met.He is described as having no morals, no conscience, no consideration, no friendliness and compassion and no kindness. He is crafty and selfish and stills Wilber’s food and never offers his. Asked to come up with a rescue name that would describe Wilber on the web, so that he is not killed he responds by saying that Wilber should be left to die. He is persuaded to find the word only when food is promised. Additionally he is persuaded to save charlotte’s egg sac on condition that he is given the first choice of the slop.
Rat represents a character that is selfish and uncaring. Rats are seen as destructive and are loathed by people. As such representing it as gluttonous, unkind and selfish fits the character well; he is rat. People have misconception about rats and thus his attitude is warranted.
Charlotte is not only lovable, kind but she is also intelligent and humble. Despite being the one writing the words on her web, she lets the pig take all the credit for it. She plays the role of a true friend when she does all she can to save Wilber. The writing make him famous and a darling of Zuckerman.
Wilber’s failure to spin a web is important as it serve to teach as that everyone is talented differently. There are things that only other people can do and we should not beat ourselves for not being able to do so.
The web is an extended metaphor for love. Love is a great thing and everyone wants to experience it. Love is terrific and radiant; the very words that the spiders writes on the web. Love is also a trap and as such person can be caught up it the web in search of love. Therefore the web possesses both positive and negative meaning. The spider uses the web to trick human and end up neglecting other activities for the sake celebrity status.
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The chapter miracle could be seen as a satire to the extent that people really want to take credit for things they have not worked hard enough for. The gullibility of the people come to for as they have come to celebrate a terrific pig; pig that could write. However that has been a trick with the spider being the one that has been writing all through. Religion in particular is represented in this scenario. As far as religion is concerned people tend to associate extraordinary happening with supernatural powers without having the time to ask questions or use logic. However they fail to notice extraordinary happening right in their barns of animals talking.
Charlotte’s death could have resulted from her overworking herself to produce great works of art that were writing on the web. She was a great writer but life slowly ebbed away as a result of exhaustion. The only way that Wilber could repay her was by saving and bringing with him home sac of egg “magnum opus”, which was to her not the writing but her children.
Words have a large number of possible meanings and used to communicate messages. And as such everything should be questioned. For instance a charlotte decides on terrific but Wilber argues that he is not at all terrific. Charlotte says that he is terrific to her and as such starts acting so. She doubles out the thread so that the letters stand out. Similar to Alice in wonderland in that he uses words whose meaning are left to the reader to intreprete Mad hater confused by Alice speech tells her to say exactly what she means.
Fern, Wilber and Charlotte relationship have one thing in common in that the three need someone to relate to and find that in each other. Fern, as a child, see in Wilber a pet but as she grows up get detached as a result of diverting her time and attention to Hensley, her finance. The Spider is treated like an outcast and finds solace befriending Wilber.
The significance of the last words is that they serve to remind the reader what the moral of the story is about; the importance of friendship and what friendships; that true friendship is characterized by care, mutual understanding, and ability to accommodate one another.
Thematic importance of passing of times runs through out the book. It takes times to build relationship and accomplish importance task as well as develop both physically, emotionally and intellectually. Charlotte liked to start spinning the web in the afternoon and worked throughout the night to write about Wilberforce. He took time and zeal to write the words terrific and radiate. Fern to grow from a child, though teenage hood up to until she became of marriageable age.
There is a more serious theme about free will vs. destiny. It is a story a bout making serous choices and about committing to a cause and be changed by things that you do not fully understand. With anti American sentiments world over at the time, story makes a powerful statement about the impotence about the value of life in all its form.
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