Study Guide

Charlotte's Web The Home

By E. B. White

The Home

Chapter 2

For the first few days of his life, Wilbur was allowed to live in a box near the stove in the kitchen. Then, when Mrs. Arable complained, he was moved to a bigger box in the woodshed. At two weeks of age, he was moved outdoors. (2.2)

Within just two weeks of being born, Wilbur has had three different homes. He's quite the little mover. But pretty soon, Wilbur will have one home for the rest of his (hopefully long) life.

Chapter 3

Wilbur's new home was in the lower part of the barn, directly underneath the cows. Mr. Zuckerman knew that a manure pile is a good place to keep a young pig. Pigs need warmth, and it was warm and comfortable down there in the barn cellar on the south side. (3.3)

Wilbur's got a new home in the Zuckerman barn. And what distinguishes this home from his former digs? A nice "manure pile." This home may be stinky, but it's a pretty good place for a pig. And isn't that the most important thing?

Chapter 9
Wilbur

"I just love it here in the barn," said Wilbur. "I love everything about this place."

"Of course you do," said Charlotte. "We all do."

The goose appeared, followed by her seven goslings. They thrust their little necks out and kept up a musical whistling, like a tiny troupe of pipers. Wilbur listened to the sound with love in his heart. (9.51-3)

Wilbur sure does love his home on the Zuckerman farm. And what does he love? "Everything," he says. Check out how many times Wilbur says the word "love" in this quote alone.

Chapter 12

"Wilbur's leftover food is your chief source of supply, Templeton. You know that. Wilbur's food is your food; therefore Wilbur's destiny and your destiny are closely linked." (12.41)

Even Templeton calls the barn home. This means he has to admit that it would be a rough place without Wilbur around. All the animals in the barn seem to depend on each other—and that's what makes it home.

Chapter 18

The grownups climbed slowly into the truck and Wilbur heard the engine start and then heard the truck moving away in low speed. He would have felt lonely and homesick, had Charlotte not been with him. He never felt lonely when she was near. (18.19)

At the end of the first day at the fair, the Arables and Zuckermans head back to their farms. Wilbur doesn't get to go "home" to the farm just yet, but he still has his best bud with him. For Wilbur, it sounds like home is where the heart is… or where Charlotte is.

Chapter 21
Wilbur

Wilbur was in a panic. He raced round and round the pen. Suddenly he had an idea—he thought of the egg sac and the five hundred and fourteen little spiders that would hatch in the spring. If Charlotte herself was unable to go home to the barn, at least he must take her children along. (21.21)

How sad is it that Charlotte will never go back home to the Zuckerman barn? Super duper sad. At least Charlotte's kiddos will be born in her old home. That'll be something for Wilbur to look forward to.

Chapter 22

Life in the barn was very good—night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything. (22.68)

To us, this sounds like a mix of good and bad. We'll take the "delicious cellar" and the "garrulous geese." But we'll pass on those nearby rats and "the smell of manure." No thanks. But for Wilbur, all these elements add up to one thing: home.

At last one little spider took time enough to stop and talk to Wilbur before making its balloon.

"We're leaving here on the warm updraft. This is our moment for setting forth. We are aeronauts and we are going out into the world to make webs for ourselves."

"But where?" asked Wilbur.

"Wherever the wind takes us. High, low. Near, far. East, west. North, south. We take to the breeze, we go as we please." (22.37-40)

These little spiders sure are adventurous. They're willing to make their home anywhere in the world. Wherever the wind takes them, that's where home is. How do you think this compares with Wilbur's ideas of home?

And so Wilbur came home to his beloved manure pile in the barn cellar. His was a strange homecoming. Around his neck he wore a medal of honor; in his mouth he held a sac of spider's eggs. There is no place like home, Wilbur thought, as he placed Charlotte's five hundred and fourteen unborn children carefully in a safe corner. The barn smelled good. His friends the sheep and the geese were glad to see him back. (22.1)

Even though Wilbur didn't feel homesick while at the fair, he's definitely happy to be back in the barn. The barn just smells like home, and Wilbur loves that smell. Plus, even though Charlotte is gone, he's got lots of friends who are there to greet him. Oh, and there are those five hundred and fourteen spider eggs to take care of. Sounds like "home" just got some new inhabitants.

Wilbur

"Joy! Aranea! Nellie!" he began. "Welcome to the barn cellar. You have chosen a hallowed doorway from which to string your webs." (22.62)

The doorway was Charlotte's home within the barn. And now it's home for her daughters. We think it's pretty cool how this doorway gets passed down from generation to generation.

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