Study Guide

John Arable in Charlotte's Web

By E. B. White

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John Arable

John Arable is Fern and Avery's dad, and husband to his worried wife, Mrs. Arable. As a dad and hubby, he seems like a pretty good fellow. He takes care of his kiddos and tries to calm Mrs. Arable's fears about her daughter's notions that animals can talk.

But our first impression of Papa Arable isn't the sweetest. Let's hop back to the opening line: "Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother" (1.1). Yep, Mr. Arable is the first would-be pig-killer we meet. Before Mr. Zuckerman comes into the picture, there's Fern's papa, wielding an ax and plotting to snuff out the runt of the piggy litter. It does seem pretty unfair to kill a pig just because it's small. We're with Fern when she disagrees with her daddy.

Happily after a little coaxing, he gives in to his daughter and lets Wilbur live. It's a good thing he's got an open mind, otherwise we might not have a story at all.

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