by E. B. White
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We know, it's probably pretty obvious that spider webs are important. After all, there's a spider web in the title. But you know what's not so obvious? What all these spider webs represent. There are a whole bunch of reasons webs are significant. Here are a couple that stood out to us:
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Just because a spider web is thin and dainty, don't go thinking it's weak. In fact, a spider web can be just the opposite of how it looks:
"A spider's web is stronger than it looks. Although it is made of thin, delicate strands, the web is not easily broken. However, a web gets torn every day by the insects that kick around in it, and a spider must rebuild it when it gets full of holes" (9.55).
Sounds to us like these spider webs are both strong and breakable. Hmm … a little like Charlotte herself, maybe?
Webs are as Good as Paper…or Even Better!
Charlotte is a top-notch writer and her medium of choice is the web. Nope, not the World Wide Web—although she'd probably be pretty great at that, too—but the barn wide web. She finds crafty ways to turn her spidery string into words people can read as if they are printed on paper. As Charlotte declares: "People believe almost anything they see in print" (12.28).
Actually, we're thinking that Charlotte's words are even more influential because they're written in a web. This has us wondering: do you think Charlotte's words would have had as much of an impact if they were printed in the newspaper? Or on a banner? Or etched in stone?
There's so much to say about these webs that we keep going in "What's Up with the Title?" so head on over there.