by E. B. White
Charlotte's Web Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Wilbur closed his eyes. "Charlotte," he said, after a while, "do you really think Zuckerman will let me live and not kill me when the cold weather comes? Do you really think so?"
"Of course," said Charlotte. "You are a famous pig and you are a good pig. Tomorrow you will probably win a prize. The whole world will hear about you. Zuckerman will be proud and happy to own such a pig. You have nothing to fear, Wilbur—nothing to worry about. Maybe you'll live forever—who knows? And now, go to sleep." (18.28-29)
Charlotte sounds pretty confident. Actually, maybe she's a little over-confident. Does the novel suggest there's a chance for Wilbur to live forever? Or is Charlotte just making things up?
"Oh, don't pay any attention to me," said Charlotte. "I just don't have much pep any more. I guess I feel sad because I won't ever see my children." (19.19)
What a horrible thought! We've been so worried about Wilbur dying that the fact that Charlotte is going to die soon feels almost like a surprise. Check out how even when she's so close to the end, Charlotte doesn't want attention on herself.
"After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that." (21.9)
Charlotte is a bit of a downer in her old age. But even her bleak outlook on life has a bright side. For Charlotte, helping out a friend can help make life better. We're thinking Wilbur will return the favor when he helps out Charlotte by saving her spider babies.