How we cite our quotes:
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. "Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night." (1.1)
Sheesh, what an opening line! Right off the bat, we know that death is going to be important in this novel.
Wilbur admired the way Charlotte managed. He was particularly glad that she always put her victim to sleep before eating it.
"It's real thoughtful of you to do that, Charlotte," he said.
"Yes," she replied in her sweet, musical voice, "I always give them an anaesthetic so they won't feel pain. It's a little service I throw in." (7.2-4)
Charlotte might be a ruthless fly-killer, but at least she's a "thoughtful" one. What do you think about the way Charlotte talks about her victims?
"Well, I don't like to spread bad news," said the sheep, "but they're fattening you up because they're going to kill you, that's why."
"They're going to what?" screamed Wilbur. Fern grew rigid on her stool.
"Kill you. Turn you into smoked bacon and ham," continued the old sheep. (7.10-12)
This is pretty shocking news for Wilbur. Clearly our favorite pig is distraught, to say the least. But the sheep doesn't seem to mind. What do you think of the old sheep's tone? Sounds pretty matter-of-fact to us. That may not be the nicest way to tell a little naïve pig that he's about to get turned into bacon, but he's probably seen a lot of pigs die.