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Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web


by E. B. White

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Third Person (Omniscient)

Charlotte's Web gives us a narrator who knows it all. Our third-person storyteller never shows up in the story and doesn't have much of a personality. But this point of view does give us a peak at everything that happens to our main man, Wilbur, and our leading lady, Charlotte.

Here's the really good news about this point of view: since our narrator is omniscient, he can tell us what the characters are thinking, even when they don't tell anyone else. So when Wilbur feels lonely, we'll hear about it. Or when Mrs. Arable is worrying inside about her daughter, we'll read about that too.

And when Fern is thinking about a boy instead of Wilbur, we get the skinny on her secret desires: "As they passed the Ferris wheel, Fern gazed up at it and wished she were in the topmost car with Henry Fussy at her side" (19.68).

(Hm, maybe it's a good thing that we're the only ones who get to know what Fern is thinking. We're thinking Wilbur would be devastated.)

Plus, the third-person point of view means that we can see things no one else does. When Charlotte dies, no one is around, not even Wilbur: "No one was with her when she died" (21.52). But the omniscient point of view gives us a look at this super sad moment. And in a way, we're with Charlotte when she dies.

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