© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web


by E. B. White

Charlotte's Web Theme of Mortality

Were you as sad as we were when Charlotte died? And were you as shocked as we were to learn that Wilbur might end up as Christmas dinner? There sure is a lot talk about death in this book. For Wilbur and his friends, there are two ways to respond to their finite lifetimes:

(1) Fight the good fight.
(2) Accept your fate.

In the end, Charlotte's Web reminds us that death is part of life. Sure, it's scary. But maybe knowing that life doesn't last forever has its benefits, too.

Questions About Mortality

  1. What is Charlotte's attitude towards death? How would you compare this to Wilbur's outlook on death?
  2. Should the characters fight to stay alive or accept the fact that they'll eventually die?
  3. Do the humans have a different outlook on death than the animals? How so?

Chew on This

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

You can't avoid death. The best thing for all the characters is to accept the fact that they'll eventually die, and give in.

No matter what, people (and animals) must try to survive. The novel argues that the characters should fight against death at any cost.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...