Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Admiration

By E. B. White

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Chapter 11
Homer L. Zuckerman

"There can be no mistake about it. A miracle has happened and a sign has occurred here on earth, right on our farm, and we have no ordinary pig."

"Well," said Mrs. Zuckerman, "it seems to me you're a little off. It seems to me we have no ordinary spider."

"Oh, no," said Zuckerman. "It's the pig that's unusual. It says so, right there in the middle of the web." (11.19-21)

Who deserves more admiration: Wilbur or Charlotte? Mrs. Zuckerman gives the spider the credit; after all, she's the one who wove the web. (Shout out to writers!) But Mr. Zuckerman thinks the pig is the one who deserves admiration. Who do you agree with?

Chapter 13

Everybody stood at the pigpen and stared at the web and read the word, over and over, while Wilbur, who really felt terrific, stood quietly swelling out his chest and swinging his snout from side to side. (13.12)

Standing under the web reading "TERRIFIC," Wilbur sure is a sight to see. Check out how this quote emphasizes how Wilbur "felt terrific." Sounds to us like Wilbur is starting to believe that sign. Plus, he might even be getting a big head from all this admiration.

Chapter 15

Some of Wilbur's friends in the barn worried for fear all this attention would go to his head and make him stuck up. But it never did. Wilbur was modest; fame did not spoil him. (15.8)

It's pretty tough to stay modest when you're as famous as Wilbur. How do you think Wilbur stays humble with all the farm paparazzi outside? Does fame spoil Wilbur?

Wilbur was now the center of attraction on the farm. Good food and regular hours were showing results: Wilbur was a pig any man would be proud of. One day more than a hundred people came to stand at his yard and admire him. (15.6)

Once Wilbur becomes the talk of the town, Mr. Zuckerman makes sure he's getting really good food and plenty of sleep. Looks like Mr. Zuckerman's tactics are working, since Wilbur is as cute as ever. But here's the thing: shouldn't Mr. Zuckerman always have been treating his pig well? It might not be ideal that it takes a little countywide fame for Wilbur to start getting his daily essentials.

Chapter 19

Everybody who visited the pigpen had a good word to say about Wilbur. Everyone admired the web. And of course nobody noticed Charlotte. (19.53)

Charlotte tends to stand on the sidelines. Compare this to all the attention Wilbur gets. In fact, he gets so much attention that "everybody" who sees him thinks he's great. And who admires Charlotte? "Nobody" at all. It seems to us there's a pretty clear difference between "nobody" and "everybody."


Everyone rejoiced to find that the miracle of the web had been repeated. Wilbur gazed up lovingly into their faces. He looked very humble and very grateful. Fern winked at Charlotte. (19.41-42)

Poor Charlotte. We feel a little bad that she never gets any credit. Everyone admires Wilbur, but almost no one notices the spider, except Fern. In fact, everyone thinks the web is a "miracle." It's almost as if they don't think an actual spider wove the web at all. Hm, sounds like someone—a lot of someones—should head back to science class.

Chapter 20

Wilbur blushed. He stood perfectly still and tried to look his best.

"This magnificent animal," continued the loud speaker, "is truly terrific. Look at him, ladies and gentlemen! Note the smoothness and whiteness of the coat, observe the spotless skin, the healthy pink glow of ears and snout." (20.19-20)

Wilbur could be a mighty swell pig model. Know anyone who's hiring? This pig sure knows how to work a room—and we're guessing the buttermilk bath helped. So here's our question: was Wilbur always terrific, or did the extra attention make him terrific?

Wilbur had been feeling dizzier and dizzier through this long, complimentary speech. When he heard the crowd begin to cheer and clap again, he suddenly fainted away. His legs collapsed, his mind went blank, and he fell to the ground, unconscious. (20.25)

All this admiration can tucker a pig out. Wilbur is so overwhelmed by all the attention that he actually faints. In front of a huge crowd! This has us wondering if admiration may not be such a good thing all the time.

Chapter 21

Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. (21.52)

Charlotte doesn't get much recognition. Actually, she doesn't get any recognition at all. Well, at least the narrator notices her and how important she is. Who else shows Charlotte the appreciation she deserves? (Need a hint? Check out the title of the book.)

Chapter 22

Mr. Zuckerman took fine care of Wilbur all the rest of his days, and the pig was often visited by friends and admirers, for nobody ever forgot the year of his triumph and the miracle of the web. (22.68)

Without his year of fame, Wilbur wouldn't be around on the Zuckerman farm anymore. But thanks to Charlotte's web and his celebrity status, Wilbur is set for life. He gets good food, lots of sleep, a happy home, and even some eager admirers for the rest of his life. We guess fame has its ups.

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