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Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White

Coming of Age Theme

In Charlotte's Web, we've got two different types of characters who grow up: kids and animals. And growing up isn't necessarily an easy feat. For an animal like Wilbur, growing up means gaining new friends and learning to stand on his own four feet. That's got to be a tough challenge. For a little girl like Fern, growing up means spending less time with Wilbur and more time with boys. That sounds like some tough stuff too. One thing is for sure: for all of our characters, growing up definitely has its ups and downs. But Charlotte's Web reminds us that everyone grows up, whether or not they want to.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. What is Fern's outlook on her childhood as she gets older? Does she leave her childhood behind when she grows up? What about the other human characters?
  2. Is growing up different for the human characters and the animal characters? How so?
  3. What life lessons do the humans and animals learn as they come of age? Are there lessons they should learn but don't?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

You never really leave your childhood behind. Even if Fern grows up, she'll always be the same girl who saved Wilbur's life.

Eventually, everyone grows up and moves on. It's good that Fern grows out of her animal phase and starts acting her own age.

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