We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web


by E. B. White

Charlotte's Web Chapter 7 Summary

Bad News

  • The more time Wilbur spends with Charlotte, the more he grows to like her. That girl—er, spider—is the best.
  • For starters, she's #1 at fly-catching. And Wilbur has decided that flies stink big time. They annoy everyone from the cows to the horses, so it's better that they become Charlotte's dinner.
  • On top of her fabulous fly catching, Charlotte is merciful.
  • Sure, Wilbur was impressed that she knocked the flies out when he first saw her eating them. But now that he's been watching her for a while, he's even more amazed that Charlotte gives her flies an "anaesthetic" so their death is painless (7.4).
  • And Charlotte's not the only good eater in the barn. Wilbur has been doing his fair share of eating and he's getting nice and plump.
  • He's pretty pleased with his growing body, but the sheep has some bad news: "they're fattening you up because they're going to kill you" (7.49).
  • Uh-oh.
  • Wilbur can't believe his little piggy ears. But the sheep clues him in: every year, there's a conspiracy to kill a pig, and everyone from Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy to Mr. Arable (Fern's dad), is in on the plot. According to the sheep, one day they'll shoot the pig—that is, Wilbur—dead. Yikes!
  • That's bad news for our dear Wilbur, who doesn't want to die. Naturally, he has a wee panic attack about it, but Charlotte tells him to hush.
  • Wilbur is having a hard time calming down. Actually, he's freaking out.
  • Charlotte admits that the sheep probably knows what's going to happen, since she's seen many pigs meet the same fate, but has some good news to offer up: "I am going to save you" (7.26). Charlotte may not be able to tolerate Wilbur's crying (truth be told, she doesn't really sympathize with him at all), but she's still a good friend. So Charlotte is going to do everything she can to save her friend's life.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...