1. loneliness — the state of feeling unhappy because you have no friends or people to talk with

2. morsel — a small amount or a piece of something, especially food

3. gosling — a young goose

Chapter 4 Summary

The day after his big escape, Wilbur awakens to find his plans for the day ruined by rain. He had managed to plan his day out, down to the hour, and is driven to despair to see those plans washed away by the rain. He is so miserable that he can’t even bring himself to eat the slops Lurvy brings.

To cheer himself up, Wilbur sets out to find a friend who will play with him. First he approaches the goose, but she is busy sitting on her eggs. The lamb, his next attempt, rejects him, saying that he cannot jump the fence to get into Wilbur’s pen, and even if he could, he’s not interested in socializing with pigs. In desperation, Wilbur asks Templeton, the rat who lives under his trough, to play with him, but Templeton is far more interested in eating Wilbur’s uneaten breakfast.

When Lurvy sees that Wilbur hasn’t touched his slops, he informs Mr. Zuckerman, who tells him to dose the pig with some sulphur and molasses, in case he’s sick. This, of course, leads poor Wilbur to believe that this is, indeed, the worst day of his life.

Just when all seems lost, a pleasant voice from out of the darkness tells Wilbur that he now has a friend. When he asks to see where and who his friend is, the voice tells him:

“Go to sleep. You’ll see me in the morning.”

Chapter 4 Analysis

The two most important aspects of this chapter are the introductions of two very important characters: Templeton and Charlotte. Charlotte is only introduced vaguely, but White shows very clearly that she is entering Wilbur’s life at a time when he needs her the most. Templeton is a rat in all senses of the word, but he, along with Charlotte, will play a vital role in Wilbur’s survival.

Chapter 4 Questions

    1. What upset Wilbur’s plans the day after he escaped? [pg. 25]
    2. List ten things that Wilbur planned to eat. [pp. 25-26]
    3. Why didn’t Wilbur eat his breakfast? [pg. 27]
    4. What did Wilbur want instead of food? [pg. 27]
    5. Why wouldn’t the goose play with Wilbur? [pg. 28]
    6. What were the two reasons the lamb wouldn’t play with Wilbur? [pg. 28]
    7. Why couldn’t Wilbur see his new friend? [pg. 31]