Charlotte’s Web

by

E. B. White

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Homer Zuckerman Character Analysis

Fern’s uncle and Wilbur’s second owner, Homer Zuckerman is a kind and practical man who runs a thriving farm and barnyard. Though Homer plans on fattening Wilbur up for meat, he is shocked, moved, and amazed at the sight of Charlotte’s web, and believes that a “miracle” has touched his farm. As a result, he begins treating Wilbur with reverence and love and, after Wilbur is presented with a special prize at the county fair, decides to keep him around for life.

Homer Zuckerman Quotes in Charlotte’s Web

The Charlotte’s Web quotes below are all either spoken by Homer Zuckerman or refer to Homer Zuckerman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Charlotte’s Web published in 1952.
Chapter 7 Quotes

One afternoon, when Fern was sitting on her stool, the oldest sheep walked into the barn, and stopped to pay a call on Wilbur.

“Hello!” she said. “Seems to me you’re putting on weight.”

“Yes, I guess I am,” replied Wilbur. “At my age it’s a good idea to keep gaining.”

“Just the same, I don’t envy you,” said the old sheep. “You know why they’re fattening you up, don’t you?”

“No,” said Wilbur.

“Well, I don’t like to spread bad news,” said the sheep, “but they’re fattening you up because they’re going to kill you, that’s why.”

“They’re going to what?” screamed Wilbur. Fern grew rigid on her stool.

“Kill you. Turn you into smoked bacon and ham,” continued the old sheep.

Related Characters: Wilbur (speaker), The Old Sheep (speaker), Fern Arable, Homer Zuckerman, Aunt Edith Zuckerman, Lurvy
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

There, in the center of the web, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It said: SOME PIG!

Lurvy felt weak. He brushed his hand across his eyes and stared harder at Charlotte’s web. “I’m seeing things,” he whispered. He dropped to his knees and uttered a short prayer. Then, forgetting all about Wilbur’s breakfast, he walked back to the house and called Mr. Zuckerman.

“I think you’d better come down to the pigpen,” he said.

[…]

Zuckerman stared at the writing on the web. Then he murmured the words “Some Pig.” Then he looked at Lurvy. Then they both began to tremble. Charlotte, sleepy after her night’s exertions, smiled as she watched.

Wilbur came and stood directly under the web.

“Some pig!” muttered Lurvy in a low voice.

“Some pig!” whispered Mr. Zuckerman.

Related Characters: Homer Zuckerman (speaker), Lurvy (speaker), Wilbur, Charlotte
Related Symbols: Charlotte’s Web
Page Number: 77-79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

The Zuckermans and the Arables stared at the tag. Mrs. Zuckerman began to cry. Nobody said a word. They just stared at the tag. Then they stared at Uncle. Then they stared at the tag again. Lurvy took out an enormous handkerchief and blew his nose very loud— so loud, in fact, that the noise was heard by stableboys over at the horse barn.

“Can I have some money?” asked Fern. “I want to go out on the midway.”

“You stay right where you are!” said her mother. Tears came to Fern’s eyes.

“What’s everybody crying about?” asked Mr. Zuckerman. “Let’s get busy! Edith, bring the buttermilk!”

Mrs. Zuckerman wiped her eyes with her handkerchief. She went to the truck and came back with a gallon jar of buttermilk.

“Bath time!” said Zuckerman, cheerfully.

Related Characters: Fern Arable (speaker), Homer Zuckerman (speaker), Mrs. Arable (speaker), Wilbur, Aunt Edith Zuckerman, Mr. Arable, Lurvy, Uncle
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Ladeez and gentlemen,” said the loud speaker, “we now present Mr. Homer L. Zuckerman’s distinguished pig. The fame of this unique animal has spread to the far corners of the earth, attracting many valuable tourists to our great State.”

[…]

“This magnificent animal,” continued the loud speaker, “is truly terrific. Look at him, ladies and gentlemen! Note the smoothness and whiteness of the coat, observe the spotless skin, the healthy pink glow of ears and snout.”

[…]

“Ladeez and gentlemen,” continued the loud speaker, “I must not take any more of your valuable time. On behalf of the governors of the Fair, I have the honor of awarding a special prize of twenty-five dollars to Mr. Zuckerman, together with a handsome bronze medal suitably engraved, in token of our appreciation of the part played by this pig—this radiant, this terrific, this humble pig—in attracting so many visitors to our great County Fair.”

Related Characters: Wilbur, Homer Zuckerman
Related Symbols: Charlotte’s Web
Page Number: 157-158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

As time went on, and the months and years came and went, [Wilbur] was never without friends. Fern did not come regularly to the barn any more. She was growing up, and was careful to avoid childish things, like sitting on a milk stool near a pigpen. But Charlotte’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, year after year, lived in the doorway. Each spring there were new little spiders hatching out to take the place of the old. Most of them sailed away, on their balloons. But always two or three stayed and set up housekeeping in the doorway.

Mr. Zuckerman took fine care of Wilbur all the rest of his days, and the pig was often visited by friends and admirers, for nobody ever forgot the year of his triumph and the miracle of the web. Life in the barn was very good—night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything. Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

Page Number: 183-184
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Charlotte’s Web LitChart as a printable PDF.
Charlotte’s Web PDF

Homer Zuckerman Character Timeline in Charlotte’s Web

The timeline below shows where the character Homer Zuckerman appears in Charlotte’s Web. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Wilbur
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...and house, and Mrs. Arable suggests Fern sell Wilbur to their neighbors and relatives, the Zuckermans—Fern’s Uncle Homer often raises pigs. Fern agrees to the arrangement, and sells Wilbur to Homer... (full context)
Chapter 5: Charlotte
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...little pig Wilbur is. He doesn’t even know, the goose thinks to herself, that “Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy are plotting to kill him” for meat around Christmastime. The goose shifts herself... (full context)
Chapter 6: Summer Days
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...every day to sit quietly on her stool and watch Wilbur—all the animals at the Zuckermans’ treat her “as an equal.” Fern and Avery often help Homer harvest hay for the... (full context)
Chapter 7: Bad News
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...afternoon, an old sheep makes a comment on Wilbur’s weight, and warns him sadly that Homer, Edith, and Lurvy are fattening him up so they can kill him and “turn [him]... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Miracle
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Homer goes back up to the house to tell Edith what’s going on. He says they... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
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”... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 12: A Meeting
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...goose suggests writing “terrific” in the web, and Charlotte agrees that the word will impress Homer. (full context)
Chapter 13: Good Progress
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...see Wilbur standing under the web, which now spells out “TERRIFIC.” He calls Edith and Homer to show them the new “miracle,” and then the Zuckermans call the Arables to tell... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Crickets
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...is looking forward to the chance to “distinguish himself” at the county fair, and cement Homer’s commitment to keeping him alive. (full context)
Chapter 16: Off to the Fair
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...full of fantasies of the fair. Lurvy dreams of playing games and winning prizes, while Homer dreams that Wilbur has grown to a giant size and won every prize. The animals... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Edith and Homer head back up to the house to finish getting ready while the animals discuss who’s... (full context)
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
The Arables arrive to go with the Zuckermans to the fair, and everyone admires Wilbur’s shiny new appearance—especially Fern, who thinks fondly of... (full context)
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
...to put on a show of struggle as he’s loaded into the crate by Lurvy, Homer, and Mr. Arable. As the Zuckermans and Arables climb into the truck and set off,... (full context)
Chapter 17: Uncle
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...when the judges are due to make their decision on which pig will take first prize—Homer says the announcement won’t be made until tomorrow. (full context)
Chapter 19: The Egg Sac
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...and cruelly states that he wouldn’t be surprised if, in the wake of Wilbur’s loss, “Zuckerman changes his mind” about killing Wilbur. Charlotte urges the worried Wilbur to pay Templeton no... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
A little later, the Arables and Zuckermans arrive at the fairgrounds. Fern leaps out of the truck and points out the web,... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
At the end of the morning, a voice on the loudspeaker calls Homer Zuckerman and his “famous pig” to the judges’ booth, where a “special announcement” will soon... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Hour of Triumph
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...and happily, determined to enjoy her “hour of triumph.” She hears the announcer present the Zuckermans’ “distinguished pig” and laud his role in “attracting many valuable tourists” to the area—and the... (full context)
Chapter 21: Last Day
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
...feeling in his mouth. He climbs into Wilbur’s crate just as Lurvy, Mr. Arable, and Homer Zuckerman return, followed by all the rest of the humans. Wilbur carefully takes the egg... (full context)
Chapter 22: A Warm Wind
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
...the egg sac in a safe corner, and then greets the geese and the sheep. Homer hangs Wilbur’s medal on a nail over the pigpen for all to see. (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...and weeks go by, Wilbur continues to grow larger in size, but doesn’t worry that Homer will kill him for meat—he knows he is safe. Though Wilbur is happy and secure,... (full context)
Friendship and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mortality and Rebirth Theme Icon
The Natural World  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Most of them float away, but two or three always stay and keep Wilbur company. Homer takes great care of Wilbur for the rest of his life, and they both continue... (full context)