by E. B. White
Charlotte's Web Chapter 22 Summary
A Warm Wind
- Wilbur is back at the barn and it's like old times again. The animals are happy to see him and Wilbur is happy to get back to his manure pile. Plus, now there's a shiny medal hanging over the pigpen.
- Everything is swell except for one tiny important detail: Charlotte. Wilbur is sad that Charlotte isn't around anymore. There are a few strands of her web left and when he looks at them he seriously misses his friend.
- After the bittersweet homecoming, the seasons start to change. First fall arrives and then winter. Wilbur survives through Christmas, so looks like Charlotte was right: his life is now safe.
- Throughout the winter, Wilbur also keeps a close eye on Charlotte's egg sac. He becomes the best parent to those eggs that you could ever imagine.
- Eventually, winter turns into spring and Wilbur can't wait to meet the little spiders. They start coming out of the sac one by one. They wave their little spider legs at him, and some of them say hello. Actually, that's pretty cute.
- One day, after they've grown a bit, something strange starts to happen with the spiders. A warm wind starts to blow through the barn and the spiders start to float away. The first one stands on its head, makes a balloon with its silk, and then says goodbye. The other spiders follow suit until there are a bunch of spiders with balloons floating on the wind.
- Wilbur is super upset. He's losing all his new friends and Charlotte's babies!
- Finally, the last spider explains what's happening. Apparently all these little spiders are aeronauts like the spider in Charlotte's story.
- They float on the wind and land "wherever the wind takes us" (22.40). Then they make a home somewhere else.
- This sounds like quite an adventure, but Wilbur thinks it sounds horrible. He can't imagine anything worse than losing all of Charlotte's kiddos.
- But the next morning Wilbur gets a pleasant surprise: three little spiders have stayed! Now Wilbur has three new friends, which rocks.
- These friends need names, so names they shall have. One by one, they talk to Wilbur to get a name:
- (1) Meet Joy. The first spider asks Wilbur why he's shaking and Wilbur says, "I'm trembling with joy" (22.52). This gives the first spider the idea to be called Joy. Hey Joy!
- (2) The second spider feels inspired by her mother's middle initial, A. So she names herself Aranea. What's up, Aranea!
- (Quick brain snack: Araneus is the genus of a lot of common orb-weaving spiders—just like Charlotte.)
- 3. Last but not least, say hello to Nellie. She has no idea what her name should be, so she let's Wilbur pick out something "not too long, not too fancy, and not too dumb" (22.57). Nellie fits the bill. Pleased to meet you, Nellie!
- So Wilbur has three chums who all seem super sweet. They pledge their eternal friendship to one another and it looks like there's only good times ahead.
- Over the years, Wilbur has lots and lots of new friends. This means that each year when his friends die, new friends are born.
- All in all, Wilbur is one happy pig. He has his barn animal friends and his new spider friends. Plus he gets to live through the winter each year instead of being killed, so that's good.
- And he never forgets Charlotte, the best friend and best writer that Wilbur could ever ask for.
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