I recently finished reading “Charlotte’s Web” to my kids. What a delightful book to read again as an adult! I loved the quirkiness of the adults in the book with their somewhat neurotic behavior and silly antidotes.
“Can I have a pig too, Pop?” asked Avery
“No, I only distribute pigs to early risers,” said Mr Arable
J5 wishes her father would distribute baby pigs (or baby ANYTHINGS) to early risers. Like Fern she is always worried about the wellbeing of small critters that may or may not make good pets.
“I worry about Fern. Did you hear the way she rambled on about the animals, pretending that they talked?”
Mr Arable chuckled. “Maybe they do talk,” he said. “I’ve sometimes wondered.”
“I don’t think it’s normal. You know perfectly well animals don’t talk.”
“Maybe our ears aren’t as sharp as Fern’s,” he said.
I agree with Mr. Arable although I do sometimes wonder if J5 will ever worry about what is going on in life above the three feet closest to the ground. For now I will continue to encourage her wild imagination and let her ride her wild mustangs.
“Fern says the animals talk to each other. Dr Dorian, do you believe animals talk?”
“I never heard one say anything,” he replied. “But that proves nothing. It is quite possible that an animal has spoken to me and that I didn’t catch the remark because I wasn’t paying attention. Children pay better attention than grown-ups… Perhaps if people talked less, animals would talk more.”
Perhaps if people talked less they would understand a great deal more than they do. I know I fail to notice most of the things that fascinate my kids.
Avery is so typical of a young boy I can just see his muddy feet plodding across my kitchen floor. Can’t you imagine your older brother as he says, “That’s a fine specimen of a pig – it’s no bigger than a white rat”. (Avery, p.4)
In the beginning Fern is passionate about the animals and spends hours by their side, listening to all they have to say. As an eight year old she is at a very delicate age where she begins to leave her childhood fantasies behind and gets caught up in the social issues life has to offer. Fortunately Wilber understands that his true friend is Charlotte not Fern.
Wilber feels indebted to Charlotte for saving his life; he can’t seem to understand why she is so willing to work for his benefit.
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Charlotte was wise in many issues concerning love and friendship. She understood that a life is only as valuable as the people we share it with. Wilbur learned how to be a friend from her example. In return he loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Overall the book was filled with great analogies and insights. I loved the stuttering geese, the wise old sheep and the lazy, selfish rat. Do we not all know people in real life with these characteristics? The best part about the book was that my kids were asking me to read more, begging to find out what happened next, and learning to visualize the words as they described a scene. E.B. White was successful and I praise him!
A final thought to ponder:
What do you mean less than nothing? I don’t think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It’s the lowest you can go. It’s the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something – even though it’s just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is.”