The Trumpet of the Swan Essay - Critical Context

E. B. White

Critical Context

E. B. White is the author of many books of prose and poetry that were written for adults. He also wrote three books specifically for children. White’s first book for a younger audience was Stuart Little (1945), the story of a tiny mouse who leaves home to find his true love, Margalo, a pretty wren. Through his many adventures in New York City, Stuart learns about both friendship and love. This book was followed by Charlotte’s Web (1952), the story of a little girl named Fern who cares deeply about a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is also friends with a special spider named Charlotte. The three characters share many adventures, and, in the end, Charlotte is able to save Wilbur from his impending death in a creative fashion. Fern, Wilbur, and Charlotte, too, learn much about both friendship and love.

All three of White’s children’s books share many commonalities. Stuart Little has adventures in different locales, just as Louis spends time in Canada, Montana, Boston, and Philadelphia. The many relationships in Charlotte’s Web are not unlike the love between Louis and his father and Louis and Serena. The friendship between Stuart and Margalo in Stuart Little and the friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web parallels the relationship between Louis and Sam Beaver in The Trumpet of the Swan. The themes of all three books include friendship, loyalty, honesty, and love.

These three books are children’s fantasy at its best. To leave reality in the company of a tiny mouse, a spider who writes messages, and a swan who plays a trumpet is a delight for children of all ages.