Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White

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What is the theme of "Charlotte's Web"?

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The universal message that an author wants the reader to walk away with after reading a story is the literary element called a theme. Most often, these themes have something to do with what it means to be human. They speak to the reader’s heart and mind in ways they understand and help the reader connect with the story.

While death is a common theme in literature and it does play a part in “Charlotte’s Web,” the theme has much more to do with selflessness and the power of love to overcome hardship and pain. The author, E.B. White, deals with the reality of death in the form of Wilbur the pig’s constant danger of being killed and Charlotte the spider’s natural death. However, it is the main characters’ constant selfless acts of love and affection that either overcome the threat of death or help to deal with it, ending in a positive result. Once Charlotte dies, it is Wilbur, who has survived, that carries on her legacy by lovingly, selflessly caring for her egg sac and seeing to it that her spider offspring safely emerge.

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