Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Chapter 21

By E. B. White

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Chapter 21

Last Day

  • After such a long day, it's nice for Wilbur and Charlotte to have some quiet time alone in the pigpen.
  • Charlotte tells Wilbur how happy she is that his life is saved. She's so glad to have helped out her friend. Wilbur can't understand why¬†Charlotte would be so nice to him when he hasn't done anything for her. But according to Charlotte, that's just what friends do. Plus, it made her life a little more entertaining.
  • You know how Charlotte kept making comments about being tired or not being around for much longer? Well all that ominous talk turns really dark, because Charlotte tells Wilbur that she's going to die soon. In a few days, in fact. She won't even be able to make it back home.
  • Wilbur is upset, so upset that he starts to throw a tantrum. Can you blame him? The poor guy is about to lose his best friend in the entire world.
  • Wilbur doesn't want Charlotte to be alone, so he declares that he will stay with her. But Charlotte tells Wilbur that he has to go home.
  • He has no choice.
  • All of a sudden, Wilbur has an idea: he'll bring the egg sac back to the barn. That way, at least Charlotte's children will live and have lots of barn friends.
  • There's just one problem: Wilbur can't reach all the way to the corner to get the egg sac. So he asks Templeton for help. But Templeton is being as mean as he's ever been. He refuses to get the sac because he says everyone is always calling on him for favors.
  • The people are returning to the pen soon and Wilbur knows he's only got a little time left. So he cuts Templeton a deal. If Templeton gets the egg sac, then Wilbur will let Templeton eat from his slop first. We know how much Wilbur loves his slop, so that's a pretty nice thing for Wilbur to give up.
  • Templeton's one kryptonite is food. Once the prospect of more goodies is on the table, he can't help but agree to get the sac. He grumbles the whole time, but eventually he releases the sac from the pen and gives it to Wilbur.
  • This happens just in the nick of time, because the Arables and the Zuckermans have arrived to load Wilbur into the crate. So Wilbur stores the egg sac in the only safe place he can think of: inside his mouth.
  • The good news is that the egg sac will be safe. The bad news is that Wilbur can't talk. Instead, he gives Charlotte a wink to tell her goodbye. She whispers goodbye back, and waves with one of her weak little legs.
  • Get out the tissues, because it's time for some tragic news: the next day, Charlotte dies.

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