Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Chapter 20

By E. B. White

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Chapter 20

The Hour of Triumph

  • When they arrive at the grandstand, the audience steps aside to let the truck through. All this attention is very exciting for humans and pig alike.
  • The one person who seems to have lost interest in the proceedings is Fern. She sees Henry, asks her mom for some money, and heads off with her crush to ride the Ferris wheel.
  • Actually, Avery seems more interested in Wilbur than Fern nowadays. Ah well, Wilbur still has plenty of admirers.
  • One of those admirers is Charlotte. She's holding onto her egg sac in the pigpen and listening to the announcements over the loud speaker. Even though she isn't with Wilbur, she feels triumphant.
  • Back at the grandstand, the announcer reminds everyone of Wilbur's far-reaching fame. Everyone knows about Zuckerman's famous pig and the miraculous spider web. But no one can figure out how the spider web with the writing got there in the first place.
  • According to the announcer, it must be because of "supernatural forces" (20.18). Spiders can't write and that's that. Charlotte knows this is a load of baloney, but no one is around to hear what she has to say. (Not that they'd hear her if she did.)
  • So Wilbur wins the Zuckerman's a special prize: twenty-five bucks and a medal.
  • Okay, twenty-five dollars might not seem like much, but the kids were able to go on rides and buy food all day for just seventy cents.
  • That definitely puts the cash prize in perspective.
  • There's an awkward moment where Wilbur faints from all the attention. According to the announcer, a dead pig can't win the prize, so Zuckerman better fix this problem ASAP.
  • Templeton's wily side becomes useful here since he decides to bite Wilbur's tail to get the pig to wake up again.
  • And Wilbur does! And the crowd cheers! Woohoo!
  • Then Lurvy comes blundering through the crowd with a pail of water to wake up Wilbur. But since Wilbur is in the crate and Lurvy just isn't thinking straight, the water ends up all over Mr. Zuckerman and Avery instead. 
  • By this time, the crowd is going bananas. A cute pig and some accidental slapstick humor all in a few minutes? Best fair EVER. 
  • Plus Avery is hamming it up, pretending to take a shower now that he's all wet. The audience is eating this up. 
  • So looks like everyone had a good day full of tons of applause and attention.

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