Study Guide

Templeton in Charlotte's Web

By E. B. White

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Templeton is the big barn rat. Let's be honest: we don't like Templeton one bit. He's rude and mean and gosh can he be a selfish little rodent. In fact, he's so selfish that he doesn't want to help save Wilbur's life. And then it takes a lot of coaxing and bribery for him to help save Charlotte's egg sac. Templeton needs to mind his manners and think of others for a change.

If you don't like Templeton, then you're in good company. Even the narrator doesn't have a nice thing to say about this rat. Take a look at the narrator's description of his least favorite rodent:

"The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything." (6.20)

From the sound of it, Templeton is pure evil. Did you notice how the narrator keeps repeating the word "no." That's also a word we hear Templeton say over and over and over again.

So this rat gets a pretty bad rap in the barn. But can you find anything redeeming about Templeton? Does he fill an important role in the barnyard?

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