Charlotte’s Web

by

E. B. White

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Charlotte’s Web: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning is foggy and wet, and the farm is covered in dew. Charlotte’s web is “a thing of beauty,” and each strand shines with beads of water. When Lurvy comes out to the barn with Wilbur’s breakfast he stops short at the sight of it—not just because it is beautiful, but because two words have been woven into the web. At its center, in capital letters, Charlotte has written out: “SOME PIG!” Lurvy feels weak and faint, unsure of whether he’s “seeing things.” Forgetting all about Wilbur’s breakfast, Lurvy goes back up to the house to fetch Homer—he says there’s something the man needs to see. Together, they return to the barn and look at the web. At the sight of the words, they both start to “tremble,” and the proud Charlotte looks on.
As Charlotte’s plan makes itself known, it becomes clear just how important saving Wilbur’s life is to her. She is sacrificing her time, her energy, and indeed her own living space on Wilbur’s behalf—and is proud and happy to find that her plan is working, and the “gullible” humans are falling into her web just like the flies she catches as prey.
Themes
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
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Homer goes back up to the house to tell Edith what’s going on. He says they have received a “sign” about their “unusual pig.” Homer declares that a “miracle has happened on [the] farm,” and when he tells Edith about the web, she suggests they go take a look at the spider. Edith and Homer go down to the barn and look at Charlotte, who sits completely still as she feels them observing her.
There is some confusion among the humans as to whether the miraculous “sign” says more about the spider who wove it or the pig of which it speaks. What is clear to them, though, is that the natural world is full of more mysteries and miracles than they’d ever allowed themselves to see.
Themes
The Natural World  Theme Icon
As they all head back up to the house, Homer tells Edith and Lurvy that he’s “thought all along” that Wilbur is an “extra good” pig. The three of them agree that Wilbur is indeed “some pig.” After changing into a suit, Homer goes to see the local minister and explain what has happened on the farm. The minister urges him to keep the news quiet while he thinks on what it means—he hopes he’ll be able to talk about the incident in his sermon next Sunday, and tell the whole community about the Zuckermans’ wonderful pig.
Charlotte’s plan begins to work in earnest in this passage as the humans all begin talking, for the first time, about how special Wilbur really is. As the Zuckermans begin telling other people about the “miracle,” news of Wilbur’s worth spreads, further aiding Charlotte’s mission to get people talking about him and seeing him as more than just meat.
Themes
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Well before Sunday, however, word about the web has spread, and people begin coming from miles around to visit the Zuckerman farm and get a look not at the web but at their “wondrous pig.” Homer is constantly busy entertaining friends and visitors, and he and Lurvy begin shaving more often and dressing in fine clothes. Homer instructs Lurvy to feed Wilbur four times a day instead of three, and in all the fuss over Wilbur, they even forget about their other duties on the farm.
Already, Charlotte’s web is having a more far-reaching impact than she could have foreseen. Everyone’s lives are being impacted by the effects of her web—and best of all, her goal of elevating Wilbur’s worth in the eyes of his owners is coming to fruition.
Themes
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
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That Sunday, church is full, and the minister instructs his parishioners to “always be on the watch for the coming of wonders.” As Fern sits in church listening, she feels happy and relieved—Charlotte’s plan is working. At the same time, she feels wistful, and misses when the Zuckermans’ barn was ordinary and empty, and she could be “alone with her friends the animals.”
Everything is changing—and Fern is feeling conflicted about how rapidly her little world is shifting. Though she’s happy other people are seeing worth and wonder in the animal world, she longs for the days when she was the only one who understood just how special Wilbur and his friends all are. 
Themes
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Related Quotes