About the Book

Book Protagonist: Wilbur
Publication Date: 1952
Genre: Children, Coming of Age, Literary Fiction, Teen and Young Adult

Themes and Analysis

Charlotte's Web

By E.B. White

'Charlotte's Web' by E.B. White is a classic children's book that has been beloved by readers of all ages for generations. It tells the story of Wilbur, a young pig, and Charlotte, a spider, as they form a deep bond in the face of adversity. 

The story is full of powerful themes, timeless symbols, and important moments that make it so special. Charlotte’s Web is a beloved classic written by E.B. White in 1952. It tells the story of Wilbur, a young pig facing the prospect of being slaughtered, and his friendship with Charlotte, a spider.

Through their bond and Charlotte’s web-spinning, Wilbur is able to survive and live out the rest of his life happily in the end. This charming tale is filled with warmth, humor, and moral lessons about life and friendship.

Charlotte’s Web Themes 


Friendship is an important theme throughout Charlotte’s Web. Wilbur and Charlotte form a strong bond that transcends species, becoming an unlikely pair. The other animals in the barnyard also demonstrate strong friendships with each other, forming a tight-knit community. This friendship serves as a reminder that kindness and compassion can be found in even the most unexpected places.


Compassion is a key theme in Charlotte’s Web. From the very start of the novel, Fern demonstrates tremendous compassion towards Wilbur when she saves him from being slaughtered. Throughout the story, Charlotte shows an immense amount of compassion towards Wilbur, protecting him from danger and ultimately sacrificing her own life for his. This theme demonstrates that sometimes we need to think beyond our own needs and consider the needs of others.


Perseverance is another important theme in Charlotte’s Web. Wilbur must persevere despite his hardships, and Charlotte must come up with creative solutions to protect him. In the end, their perseverance pays off, and Wilbur finds a way to survive and thrive in the barnyard. This theme reminds us that with enough determination and creativity, anything is possible.

Key Moments in Charlotte’s Web

  1. When Wilbur is born, Fern pleads with her father to save his life.
  2. Charlotte arrives at the Zuckerman farm and befriends Wilbur.
  3. Wilbur discovers the words “some pig” in Charlotte’s web.
  4. When Wilbur wins the award at the county fair for being “some pig”. 
  5. Templeton finds the pieces of paper to help Charlotte make her web sayings. 
  6. When Wilbur leaves for the Fair and Charlotte reveals to Wilbur that she will soon die. 
  7. When Wilbur learns that Charlotte’s eggs have hatched and he has new friends.
  8. Wilbur visits Charlotte’s egg sac in the winter and finds out all of her children have survived. 
  9. Wilbur is reunited with Charlotte’s children, and they share the news of her passing. 
  10. Wilbur moves to a new home with his new family and looks up to see a “miraculous” web in the sky as a reminder of Charlotte’s legacy.

Tone and Style

The tone of Charlotte’s Web is one of innocence, gentleness, and whimsy. Throughout the story, there are moments of joy, sorrow, love, and friendship. E.B. White uses humor to make the characters come alive and shows us the power of loyalty and family. 

The style in which Charlotte’s Web is written is a masterful mix of vivid imagery, humor, and heartfelt emotion. E.B. White writes with an elegant simplicity that captures the essence of a complex story. The combination of description and dialogue brings the characters to life and allows the reader to experience their joys, sorrows, and triumphs. It is easy to become immersed in the story and feel connected to the characters in Charlotte’s Web.

Symbols in Charlotte’s Web

The Spider Web

One of the most iconic symbols in Charlotte’s Web is the spider web. It is a representation of Charlotte’s hard work and ingenuity in protecting Wilbur from Farmer Zuckerman. It also symbolizes Wilbur’s bond with Charlotte as she does everything she can to make sure that he’s safe.


Food is a symbol that comes up a few times in the novel. Everyone eats, no matter who they are or what kind of creature they are. The pigs, spiders, geese, sheep, and human beings all require sustenance to survive. This is one of the many ways that E.B. White reminds readers, no matter their age, of the ways that all living things are united. 

Charlotte’s Eggs

At the end of the novel, Wilbur learns that Charlotte has produced an egg sack and that her life is coming to an end. It symbolizes the future and the legacy of an important friendship. Wilbur takes care of the egg sack in honor of his friend Charlotte after she dies and is heartbroken when all but three of the spiders leave to live their lives elsewhere. But, the three remaining spiders become his friends and have more babies that live and grow in the barn. 


What is the main theme of Charlotte’s Web? 

The main theme of Charlotte’s Web is the power of friendship. Wilbur, Charlotte, and the other animals in the barn work together to save Wilbur’s life and illustrate the importance of community. 

What kind of tone does E.B. White use in Charlotte’s Web?

E.B. White’s tone in Charlotte’s Web is playful yet sincere. His characters are endearing, and their dialogue is often lighthearted and humorous. At the same time, White conveys meaningful messages about friendship, mortality, and the cycle of life. 

How does the author use symbolism in Charlotte’s Web?

Symbols are an important part of Charlotte’s Web. The web is a symbol of friendship and loyalty, while the spider represents selflessness. Wilbur’s pigpen also serves as a symbol of his innocence and naivety. Additionally, the words in Charlotte’s web can be seen as symbols of hope, compassion, and understanding.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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