Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White

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Why doesn't the goose play with Wilbur in Charlotte's Web?

Quick answer:

In chapter 4 of Charlotte's Web, Wilbur just wants a friend to play with. He wanders around the farm asking if anyone wants to spend time with him. The goose says she is expecting goslings and cannot leave her eggs, and so she cannot play with Wilbur.

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In chapter 4, Wilbur had his entire day planned out by the hour, but it is pouring rain. He laments that he was set to have a beautifully planned day out, and the rain has ruined it. He mopes indoors for a while and then ventures outside in search of Templeton. When he cannot find his friend, he suddenly feels very lonely.

Later on, Wilbur hears Lurvy preparing breakfast. He tries to feed Wilbur, but he does not budge, and Lurvy realizes something is not right with him. Wilbur does not want to eat, he simply wants a friend, someone who will play with him. He sees the goose sitting quietly in the corner and asks her to come over and play with him. The goose says she can't, because she is sitting on her eggs and needs to keep them warm. She does not play when there are eggs about to hatch.

"Sorry, sonny, sorry," said the goose. "I'm sitting-sitting on my eggs. Eight of them. Got to keep them toasty-oasty-oasty warm. I have to stay right here, I'm no flibberty-ibberty-gibbet. I do not play when there are eggs to hatch. I'm expecting goslings."

Wilbur continues to seek a friend, asking one of the lambs (one also declined) and then Templeton, who simply eats Wilbur's breakfast. Watching the rat eat his food is the last straw for Wilbur—sad and friendless, he bursts into tears.

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