by E. B. White
Charlotte's Web Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"O.K., Wilbur," said Charlotte. "You can go back to sleep. O.K., Templeton, the soap ad will do, I guess. I'm not sure Wilbur's action is exactly radiant, but it's interesting."
"Actually," said Wilbur, "I feel radiant." (13.50-1)
After Templeton brings Charlotte a soap ad with the word "radiant," Charlotte has to figure out if the word accurately describes her little piggy friend. But Wilbur doesn't need much convincing at all. It took him a little while to start feeling "terrific," but now he feels radiant almost immediately.
Charlotte had written the word RADIANT, and Wilbur really looked radiant as he stood in the golden sunlight. Ever since the spider had befriended him, he had done his best to live up to his reputation. When Charlotte's web had said SOME PIG, Wilbur had tried hard to look like some pig. When Charlotte's web said TERRIFIC, Wilbur had tried to look terrific. And now that the web said RADIANT, he did everything possible to make himself glow. (15.6)
Wilbur's relationship with the words in the web gets closer all the time. Instead of wondering if he's terrific, now he does his best to just be as terrific as possible. Check out how the last three sentences use a similar structure. It's almost like cause and effect: the web says one thing, so Wilbur tries to act it out.
"That's some pig!" said Mrs. Arable.
"He's terrific," said Lurvy.
"He's very radiant," said Fern, remembering the day he was born. (16.42-4)
It's obvious to us that Mrs. Arable, Lurvy, and Fern are quoting directly from Charlotte's web. But do you think they realize they're quoting the web's messages? Or have they absorbed the web's message into their own minds? Now that's a scary thought.