CHAPTER IX (9)
1. boast — to talk with too much pride about something you have done or can do
2. delicate — easy to damage or to break
3. sedentary — not active
Chapter 9 Summary
One afternoon, Wilbur and Charlotte begin discussing the different parts of a spider’s leg. When he learns there are seven distinct sections to her legs, Wilbur tells Charlotte that he doesn’t think he has seven sections in his leg. She tells him that this is because they lead very different lives. For one thing, she says, he doesn’t have to spin a web. He could if he wanted to, he tells her. This leads Wilbur to decide he wants to try to spin a web.
He asks Charlotte to coach him, and begins by climbing to the top of the manure pile. On Charlotte’s instruction, he takes a deep breath and jumps. Alas, no rope appears behind him. To correct this, he believes he needs to tie a piece of string to his tail. He enlists Templeton for this duty, but even with a string attached tightly to his tail, Wilbur’s second attempt is as fruitless as his first. He is disappointed, but Charlotte informs him that he can’t spin a web because he lacks spinnerettes and know−how. After sitting around and talking about life, Wilbur again begins to worry about the impending plan to kill him. He asks Charlotte if she has come up with a plan yet. She tells him no, not yet, but that she is working on it. She tells him to stay healthy, eat well, and not worry − she will think of something.
Chapter 9 Analysis
Again, this chapter is more about story and character. The plot has not really moved at all, and there is not a lot of deeper meaning to be found. Here, White is building on the characters of Wilbur and Charlotte while allowing the reader a glimpse into their friendship. Wilbur feels he isn’t special because he cannot spin a web, but Charlotte makes him feel better about himself and defends him when a lamb insults him, thereby exhibiting signs of friendship and loyalty. Charlotte also offers a lesson in spider anatomy, another example of White injecting a bit of instruction into his narrative.
Chapter 9 Questions
- How many sections do Charlotte’s legs have? [pg. 55]
- What did Wilbur boast he could do? [pg. 56]
- Why can’t Wilbur spin a web? [pg. 58-60]
- What is Charlotte working on to save Wilbur? [pg. 63]
CHAPTER X (10)
1. explosion — a sudden, loud and violent bursting
2. gullible — believing and trusting people too easily, and so easily tricked
3. furthermore — in addition to; synonym: also
Chapter 10 Summary
After several days spent waiting for an idea of how to save Wilbur, Charlotte finally comes up with a plan. She reasons that if she can fool a bug, she should definitely be able to fool a man.
The next morning, Fern and Avery go to the Zuckermans’ and swing on the rope swing in the barn. Once they tire of that pursuit, they decide to go visit Wilbur, where Avery quickly spies Charlotte in her corner. He decides he wants to add her to his collection, but he loses his balance and falls over Wilbur’s trough, crushing Templeton’s rotten egg. The awful smell runs the children out of the cellar. Soon, Lurvy brings Wilbur his slops and, smelling the stench, buries the egg. The smell soon dissipates, and everything goes back to normal, with each animal proud of the role they played in “saving” Charlotte.
As evening turns to night and night gets later and later, Charlotte is busy weaving something into her web.
Chapter 10 Analysis
Here we see the formation of Charlotte’s plan to save Wilbur. This is the most telling part of the chapter, a veiled comment by E.B. White in his view of humans as “gullible.” It may even indicate that he feels animals are superior in many ways to humans − a theme that will come up more than once in the chapters to come.
Chapter 10 Questions
- What is Charlotte’s idea about the way to save Wilbur’s life? [pg. 67]
- What did Mr. Zuckerman have that was the “best in the county”? [pg. 68]
- Why did mothers for miles around worry about it? [pg. 69]
- What was Avery trying to do when he lost his balance? [pg. 72]
- What broke and what happened when it broke? [pg. 72]
- What did Wilbur say saved Charlotte’s life? [pg. 73]