Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Chapter 13

By E. B. White

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Chapter 13

Good Progress

  • Charlotte gets to work on the new web design. She clears out the center of the web to give herself a blank canvas, and then sets to work on the letters.
  • This spider is not only clever at campaigning, but she's also quite the engineer. She thinks about which types of thread she'll use for different parts of the web. Plus she considers how thick she should make the letters so that they'll be more visible.
  • Charlotte works on her web all night and stays cheery the whole time. The girl's a mighty hard worker.
  • In the morning, Lurvy finds Wilbur standing under the new and improved web. There's also a bit of dew this morning, so the web is sparkling again.
  • Lurvy is amazed and needs to spread the news. This sets off a good old-fashioned game of telephone: Lurvy tells Mr. Zuckerman who tells Mrs. Zuckerman who tells the Arables who come straight over to the farm. Phew! And then there's one more important call to make: to a reporter at the Weekly Chronicle.
  • You know this kind of buzz can't stay quiet for long (not that anyone is trying to keep it a secret). So soon everyone in the county is making a second trip to the Zuckerman farm to see the new writing in the web.
  • Mr. Zuckerman realizes that things need to start changing on his farm now that he has such a special, nay, a terrific pig. He instructs┬áLurvy to only put clean straw in Wilbur's pen instead of manure, because a terrific pig deserves a clean bed.
  • Plus, Mr. Zuckerman makes plans to take Wilbur to the County Fair. Lurvy needs to find a big crate and paint "Zuckerman's Famous Pig" in gold letters onto the crate. It's going to be super fancy.
  • Now it's time to switch gears, mid-chapter, and turn to Templeton. Our little rat has been snooping around in one of his favorite places: the dumpster just below the apple orchard. And Templeton has found some goodies that he thinks Charlotte might like. But it takes him a few tries to get it right:
  • (1) On his first attempt, Templeton gives Charlotte a magazine advertisement that says "Crunchy." Charlotte points out that the word crunchy might make people think of bacon. That would be really bad for Wilbur.
  • (2) With his second attempt at dumpster diving, Templeton brings back a label that reads "pre-shrunk." Nope, no good.
  • (3) So on the third try Templeton brings back the packaging for some soap. The box says: "With New Radiant Action." Neither Charlotte nor Templeton know what this means, but they agree it might have potential.
  • Charlotte decides to test out this potential slogan. She orders Wilbur to dance about so she can see if he is radiant. Charlotte isn't entirely convinced that Wilbur is radiant, but the slogan seems like a good one so it'll have to do.
  • Wilbur and Charlotte are both tired from all this slogan-testing, so they settle down for bed. And Wilbur asks his spider friend for some bedtime stories.
  • First, Charlotte tells Wilbur a story about how her cousin caught a fish in her spider web. The fish and the spider had an epic battle before the fish became so entangled in the web that it couldn't get free. Then the spider ate the fish. Bam!
  • Next, Charlotte tells Wilbur about another spider cousin who would form balloons with her thread and float through the air. Wilbur thinks sounds a little far-fetched, but Charlotte insists that it's the truth. Apparently she comes from a family of exceptional spiders.
  • After this last story and a little lullaby, Wilbur finally falls asleep. And then Fern goes home. We haven't heard much about Fern lately, but turns out she's been in the barn for a while. Who knew?

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