Why does Charlotte the spider die in Charlotte's Web?

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alexb2's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Spiders do not live very long, and Charlotte reaches the end of her life cycle just after creating her eggs and egg sac.

From a dramatic point of view, Charlotte dies to give the book a sad, but useful climax.

renelane's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Charlotte dies in the end to illustrate the circle of life. Wilbur lived, even though the runt is typically left to die on a farm, yet, after creating life-Charlotte's purpose has been fulfilled.

talemaker's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

 each time wilbur tells the story of charlotte, he continues to give her life.  in such a why we can, if we are lucky, have immortality.  charlotte's death, her true death, will come when no one can recall her name, cannot recall her deed(s), when she fades from memory.

paulettegb's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)

It illustrates the circle of life.  In Judaism, when our loved ones recount their fond memories of us we continue to live.  Wilbur tells each new generation of Charlotte's decendants about her life and what she did for him.  In that way, lives on.

bmrasmussen's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #5)

In Charlotte's Web, Charlotte the spider dies because she is old - in spider-years, at least. Most spiders have a very short lifespan. They hatch from eggs in the spring, mature, and then lay their own egg sac in the fall. After laying the egg sac, their life cycle is over and they die. The egg sac waits over winter, and the new baby spiders hatch in the spring.

While Charlotte's lifespan is the most obvious explanation, Charlotte's death in the book serves to move the story along towards its ending. Wilbur discovers that he doesn't need Charlotte in order to survive - that he has what he needs inside of himself. In this way, Charlotte's death actually does better at teaching him that he can survive than her life - it isn't until she is gone that he realizes she was right all along. Finally, it illustrates how someone's life can keep giving even after they are gone. This can be seen in how Wilbur offers friendship to Charlotte's "children" and in how he continues to live life differently even without her there to tell him what to do.

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