Cobweb Messages in Charlotte's Web

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In ''Charlotte's Web'', the messages woven by Charlotte into her spider web were very important to the outcome of the story. Read on to find out how these spider webs help save Wilbur's life.

Spider Web Words

Have you ever seen a spider's web? There are many of them, both outside and inside of our homes. In the story Charlotte's Web, the spider Charlotte weaves webs that are very special. Her webs include words! Why would a spider include words in her web?

A typical spider web might reflect light, but it usually does not have words!


The first words Charlotte weaves into her web are SOME PIG. Charlotte chooses these words because she is trying to save her friend Wilbur, the pig, from being killed. As a result of this amazing web, the people on the farm start to look at Wilbur in a new way.

After seeing this web, the farmer, Mr. Zuckerman, says, ''A miracle has happened and a sign has occurred here on earth, right on our farm, and we have no ordinary pig.'' Lurvy, the hired man, agrees, saying, ''I've always noticed that pig. He's quite a pig.''

Instead of being a runt pig, Wilbur becomes a special pig. People come from all over to see Zuckerman's special pig.

The first web says SOME PIG.
Some Pig


After a while, the people stop coming to see Wilbur. Interest dies down and Wilbur is still in danger of being killed. Charlotte knows that she has to weave an even better web if she wants to save Wilbur's life.

The second web woven by Charlotte says TERRIFIC. This adjective, terrific means extremely good or wonderful. After this web appears, Mr. Zuckerman is even more proud of his pig Wilbur. He tells Lurvy, ''There is to be no more cow manure thrown down into that pigpen. I have a terrific pig. I want that pig to have clean, bright straw every day for his bedding.''

Charlotte's words are working! Many people come from all over to see Wilbur.


By the time Charlotte weaves the third word into her web, Wilbur has changed from the beginning of the story. Because he is getting extra attention, more food, and a better place to sleep, Wilbur starts to get stronger. He starts to grow and becomes more confident. He is no longer a weak, little runt pig.

When the word RADIANT appears in Charlotte's web, Wilbur is actually beginning to feel radiant, which means bright with hope. He is hopeful that he is not going to be killed. As this quote from the story shows, Wilbur tries very hard to live up to his friend Charlotte's words:

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