Sunday, 10 July 2011

CHARLOTTE’S WEB – E.B. White, 1952

First, let me be clear, I love Stuart Little so I am inclined to go easy on anyone who could create such an endearing character. (Tracey Emin likes Stuart Little, too.)
Charlotte’s Web is, in many ways, a perfect children’s story. An animal is in peril and that animal is saved. The trials and tribulations which lead to the eventual survival of that particular animal are seen as contributing to a heart-warming adventure.
The bigger picture is not mentioned because it would spoil the story.
Wilbur the pig was befriended by Fern, the human character who represents every child. She and any other child will eat their pork chops and their steak and chips and their chicken without remorse if they do not know the particular animal. Once the animal becomes a pet, however, as Wilbur does to Fern, the relationship is changed. It must be saved from death at all costs. Wilbur, the runt of the litter, was destined for a quick death at birth, as he had no monetary value to the farmer who owned him. Fern saved him because she could not bear to see him condemned to death for no reason. This is a good thing. But what happened to Wilbur’s healthy brothers and sisters? Was there an artistic spider to save them?
It is lovely to see Wilbur living out his days without fear. Maybe we should just focus on that.

No comments:

Post a Comment