Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White

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Is Templeton welcomed by other animals in Charlotte's Web?

In Charlotte's Web, Templeton is not welcomed by the other animals, because his life is mostly centered on selfish and sinister activities, like spying, gnawing, and hiding.

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Templeton, the rat, is not welcomed by the other animals in E. B. White’s novel Charlotte’s Web. There’s many reasons why the other animals don’t show Templeton hospitality and warmth. One reason has to do with Templeton’s personality. Templeton isn’t fun to be around, and he doesn’t like to play. When Wilbur asks him to play, Templeton replies, “Play? I hardly know the meaning of the word.” For Templeton, life is about “eating, gnawing, spying, and hiding.” His odious priorities don’t make the other animals want to be around him.

Wilbur himself grows annoyed with Templeton. One night, as Wilbur tires to sleep, Templeton noisily tries to gnaw a hole in a bin of grain. Wilbur wonders why Templeton feels the need to stay up all night and damage property that doesn’t belong to him. “Why can’t he go to sleep, like any decent animal?” Wilbur wonders.

Speaking of decency—that’s another reason why the animals scorn Templeton. Templeton, according to the narrator, lacks decency. Other attributes that Templeton is missing, in the narrator's opinion, include scruples, consideration, kindness, and feeling. The narrator notes that Templeton would probably kill a baby goose if he could get away with it. Basically, Templeton is seen as amoral, apathetic, and a potential murderer.

Alas, Templeton's criminal characterization doesn’t prevent him from being helpful to the barnyard occupants. Remember, throughout the story, Templeton winds up playing a key role in keeping Wilbur, Charlotte, and Charlotte’s eggs alive.

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