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Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White

Rope Swing

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Go free falling—on the Zuckerman rope swing, the best ride in town. Kids all around the county dream about this swing. That's how great it is.

And what makes this rope swing so wonderful? For starters, there's nothing like the taste of freedom. When kids are on the rope swing, they don't have a care in the world.

Plus, getting on the rope swing is probably going to make your parents a wee bit angry. So that's a bonus if you're a rebellious, parent-defying kid. According to our narrator, "Mothers for miles around worried about Zuckerman's swing. They feared some child would fall off. But no child ever did" (10.24).

And then there's the guts it takes to grab hold of that rope swing and jump. You've got to do it with gusto:

"Then you got up all your nerve, took a deep breath, and jumped. For a second you seemed to be falling to the barn floor far below, but then suddenly the rope would begin to catch you, and you would sail through the barn door going a mile a minute, with the wind whistling in your eyes and ears and hair. Then you would zoom upward into the sky, and look up at the clouds, and the rope would twist and you would twist and turn with the rope" (10.23).

Wow, that sounds like fun! It might take a lot of courage to start swinging, but evidently it's worth the ride. So the rope swing represents freedom, and rebellion, and courage. What else might the rope swing represent?

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