Study Guide

Charlotte's Web Chapter 7

By E. B. White

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Chapter 7

Bad News

  • The more time Wilbur spends with Charlotte, the more he grows to like her. That girl—er, spider—is the best.
  • For starters, she's #1 at fly-catching. And Wilbur has decided that flies stink big time. They annoy everyone from the cows to the horses, so it's better that they become Charlotte's dinner.
  • On top of her fabulous fly catching, Charlotte is merciful.
  • Sure, Wilbur was impressed that she knocked the flies out when he first saw her eating them. But now that he's been watching her for a while, he's even more amazed that Charlotte gives her flies an "anaesthetic" so their death is painless (7.4).
  • And Charlotte's not the only good eater in the barn. Wilbur has been doing his fair share of eating and he's getting nice and plump.
  • He's pretty pleased with his growing body, but the sheep has some bad news: "they're fattening you up because they're going to kill you" (7.49).
  • Uh-oh.
  • Wilbur can't believe his little piggy ears. But the sheep clues him in: every year, there's a conspiracy to kill a pig, and everyone from Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy to Mr. Arable (Fern's dad), is in on the plot. According to the sheep, one day they'll shoot the pig—that is, Wilbur—dead. Yikes!
  • That's bad news for our dear Wilbur, who doesn't want to die. Naturally, he has a wee panic attack about it, but Charlotte tells him to hush.
  • Wilbur is having a hard time calming down. Actually, he's freaking out.
  • Charlotte admits that the sheep probably knows what's going to happen, since she's seen many pigs meet the same fate, but has some good news to offer up: "I am going to save you" (7.26). Charlotte may not be able to tolerate Wilbur's crying (truth be told, she doesn't really sympathize with him at all), but she's still a good friend. So Charlotte is going to do everything she can to save her friend's life.

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