by E. B. White
Charlotte's Web Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Wilbur didn't want food, he wanted love. He wanted a friend—someone who would play with him. (4.22)
All Wilbur wants in life is a good friend. Is that really too much to ask? When Wilbur first gets to the Zuckerman barn, he's afraid that a good friend might be too hard to find. Check out how Wilbur defines a friend here: "someone who would play with him." Do you think that definition changes over the course of the novel? Or how does it remain the same?
"Well," he thought, "I've got a new friend, all right. But what a gamble friendship is! Charlotte is fierce, brutal, scheming, bloodthirsty—everything I don't like. How can I learn to like her, even though she is pretty and, of course, clever?"
Wilbur was merely suffering the doubts and fears that often go with finding a new friend. In good time he was to discover that he was mistaken about Charlotte. (5.56-57)
Wilbur is pretty skeptical about Charlotte at first. In fact, he's downright insulting when he thinks about this potential new friend. It's a good thing first impressions aren't set in stone. Otherwise, our leading man might have found himself ending up as Christmas dinner.
"You shall not die," said Charlotte, briskly.
"What? Really?" cried Wilbur. "Who's going to save me?"
"I am," said Charlotte.
"How?" asked Wilbur.
"That remains to be seen. But I am going to save you, and I want you to quiet down immediately. You're carrying on in a childish way. Stop your crying! I can't stand hysterics." (7.22-26)
Charlotte is being a great pal. Telling someone who's marked for death that you're going to save his life is quite a promise to make. But Charlotte is also sort of harsh here. What do you think of Charlotte's attitude to Wilbur's crying? She may be supportive, but she's not always the most sensitive.