Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Writing Style

By E. B. White

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Writing Style

Detailed, Sensory

In Charlotte's Web, details take the cake. Or the blueberry pie. Everywhere we turn, this story gives us tons of detailed description, which means that we get oodles of information about the little things. Take the Zuckerman barn, for instance. The narrator takes us on a tour of every nook and cranny in this place.

On top of that, this style is always putting our five senses working in overdrive. Want to know what the barn looks like? We've got descriptions of the stalls, the pens, the stacks of hay, not to mention "ladders, grindstones, pitch forks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacs, and rusty rat traps" (3.2). That's a lot of stuff to visualize.

Or maybe you're in the mood to know what the barn feels like. Well then here you go: "The barn was pleasantly warm in winter when the animals spent most of their time indoors, and it was pleasantly cool in the summer when the big doors stood wide open to the breeze" (3.2). Sounds pretty great to us.

But then again, perhaps smells are what you're really after. A barn has to have tons of smells, and it sure does:

"It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell—as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish." (3.1)

By golly that's a lot of smells. Check out how this sensory style uses lots of lists to give us all the details. This means we get some repetition too. Put it all together, and you have a pretty realistic picture of life on the farm.

Well, except for the talking animals of course.

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