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Read Charlotte's Web (2001)

Charlotte's Web (2001)

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3.52 of 5 Votes: 6
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0064410935 (ISBN13: 9780064410939)

Charlotte's Web (2001) - Plot & Excerpts

Lo and behold, my young student lent me – although I abhor to do so- this in tatters considering that I am now finicky about book covers. I prefer pristine books to crispy ones since I would love to build my own private library someday where in I would definitely hole up reading the books I would like to keep up with. (Stargazing) Yippie! I can’t wait for it.I rarely get a chance to meet a young student whose taste for books is paralleled with mine. It just so happened that my student came up with this book and offered to lend me first , for she knows that I have not bought my own copy yet. Out of idle curiosity I nodded in excitement since its paperback picture of a cute girl looking up to a spider in its web while holding a pig had drawn my attention many times at children books sections in a book store. Also, I had learned that it is considered as one of the best children books in the world literature. So I did not want to miss this opportunity as long as books could be at my disposal and gratis .As a matter of course, literally, I tend to judge a book cover rather than its content, the first ideas of the story that I deluded myself into were:( a) The pig was the main protagonist of the story.(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet .(d) The story centered around the pig’s heroism just the like in the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.Upon reading it, I have shattered all my illusions with this burning sensation of shame.( a) The pig was the main protagonist of the story.Yes, the pig is the main protagonist of the story. His name is Wilbur but there’s one thing I did not give a fiddle’s fart about- the spider. The spider also has a special role as the all rage to the story. She, not a man if you are unconsciously borne upon this male sexism, is Charlotte A. Cavatica.(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.Teng! Teng! Teng! ( X-double –minus ) The spider is Charlotte. The girl’s name is Fern Arable. She saved Wilbur from death when her father found out that he is a rant. She begged her father that she pet Wilbur herself.(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet.Nope. When Wilbur was crestfallen because Fern missed visiting him, Charlotte, the spider, comforted him until they hit it off like best friends.(d.)The story centered around the pig’s heroism just the like in the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.Not at all! The highlights of the story are:First: Wilbur knew that he was expected to be killed for ham and bacon before Christmastime.Second: Charlotte would make some miracles to save Wilbur.Third: The natural life-and-death process of Charlotte. Tear-jerker! T_TI was close to giving it 4 stars because I enjoyed reading the first part in which I basked the philosophical discussion between Fern and his father about life.Fern Arable: [John Arable lifts runt from the newborn litter of piglets] Papa! Papa, stop! Don't kill it! It's unfair.Arable: Fern! You will have learn to control yourself!Fern Arable: [crying] Control myself? This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself?Arable: Now Fern, I know a lot more about raising pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble, now run along.Fern Arable: But it's unfair! If I had been very small, would you have killed me?Arable: No, certainly not! A little girl is one thing, a... runty pig is another.Fern Arable: [Sobbing] I don't see any difference! This is the most terrible case of injustice that I ever heard of!Then, I kept turning the next pages so eager and excited to know how Fern is able to bring up Wilbur. But I was disappointed when I found out that Charlotte turned out to be a spider beyond my great expectations. I guess I had this conception that how a spider , definitely whose intelligence is lower than the domestic animals in the barn , could have such a big role, especially in her ability to communicate with others. Probably I am more used to watching TV anime or reading fables which most of the characters involved are intellectually higher than insects such as spiders . Or You’ d rather I said social interaction among animals with different intellectual classification . For example, pigs could interact with another domestic animals like horses, sheep, goats, geese, chickens, cats, dogs, or even mice, but with insects such as spiders and other kind alike is off the center. I have never read nor seen such kind of interaction yet. If I have as the memory serves, I just know that they just take a cameo part.I had expected that the story would go like ,probably , Wilbur would be a Super-Pig doing something heroic granted that the perception of the town people about him was that he is an animal, merely a pig. Uh-oh! I may have gotten this idea from animation movies which the common scene is that an animal does something remarkable such as in Pig City, Beethoven, Dalmatian 101…I may be a little disappointed at the twists and turns of the story, but I can’t deny the fact that it is worth its salt. You can pick some lessons from the philosophical discourses among the characters about LIFE and FRIENDSHIP.No wonder it has received a panoply of different literary awards.On life , I liked : "Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen." Who won’t skip Wilbur’s standing-ovation polemic on an arrogant lamb’s snide that He(Wilbur) is just nothing ?“What do you mean less than nothing? I don't think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It's the lowest you can go. It's the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something - even though it's just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is.”Howzat? Read it again ! ( laughs)On friendship, I want to remember Charlotte’s lines by heart : “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.”

This bedtime re-reading with the little ones, as well as gaining an extra star in my rating, reminded me why I love this book, with all its wise innocence and profound earthy charm. This is not the cheerful, humorous talking-animals fable it presents itself as. Without being heavy-handed on the moral-of-the-story (as so many well-meaning children's authors tend to) Mr. White has delivered, modestly and graciously, a loving homage to this beautiful, messy, miracle we call life--from the migrating swallows to the spit-bug, from the ecstatic wonder of hatching eggs to the explosive mortification of a rotten one, from changing maple leaves to the rats (yes, even rats!) in the walls to growing girls beginning to forget kids' games and notice how remarkable Henry Fussy is. When Wilber asks the biggest question, "Why?" Charlotte's response is essense of altruism--more than that, it echoes the endless human struggle to somehow make this brief existence meaningful. "'Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing... After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess... By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.'"It takes not only a master storyteller, but a true devotee of the ephemeral, paradoxical beauty of this world to plumb the heart of all that is wonderful and terrible and ridiculous about being alive--horror of death, the simple pleasures of food and sleep and laughter, the holy mystery of sacrificial love--and craft it into a tale of a pig, most undignified of creatures, destined for slaughter. Only one fully sensible of the truth behind the phrase "undying love" could have made a common grey spider, with a lifespan of a few years at the most, a figure of all nobility, magnanimity, and grace. (Side note: I love White for carefully resisting the urge, if any, to turn the troublesome Avery into an example of "bad behavior"--see, children, this is what happens when--but celebrates all the rough-and-tumble glory of boyhood: "He gets into poison ivy and gets stung by wasps and bees and brings frogs and snakes home and breaks everything he lays his hands on," reports Mrs. Arable, and the all-wise Dr. Dorian succinctly replies, "Good!")The reason I originally held back from giving this 5 stars was that I wanted to reserve that honor, not just for really good books that are thoughtful and well told, but for those that I feel are life-changing--those Great Works of Art that touch something of the mystery of being, and that everyone, EVERYONE should read--and I wasn't sure this one quite reached that standard, despite being a personal lifelong favorite. Any such doubts have been erased. Children's book or no, this is truly a Great Book, and EVERYONE should read it. Savor the poetry, laugh at White's gentle satire of the nonsense only humans could invent, and unabashedly mourn for Charlotte in the end--while looking forward to the hopeful reminder of renewed life that so generously follows.

What do You think about Charlotte's Web (2001)?

Kelar dalam beberapa jam! What a wonderful story! Kenapa juga nggak baca dari dulu? Karena gw pikir ini cerita anak-anak *emang iya sih* dan gak seru. Tapi ternyata... uhuu seru banget, dan mengharukan!Persahabatan antara Wilbur si babi dan Charlotte si laba-laba di sebuah peternakan. Wilbur yang takut disembelih dan dijadikan daging asap, menjadi panik ketika omongan diantara hewan mulai santer bahwa dia akan dipotong di malam natal.Charlotte, teman sejatinya, berjanji bahwa dia akan membantunya dan tak akan membiarkan pemilik peternakan menyembelih Wilbur. Wilbur yang kerjanya hanya makan dan tidur (babi gt loh) percaya seratus persen akan janji Charlotte. Dan Charlotte, a true and loyal friend to the end, kept her promise.Ada beberapa bagian yang lucu, terutama saat si soang ngomong. Dia kalo ngomong selalu mengulang-ngulang: "That's where you're wrong, my friend, my friend." kek kaset rusak gitu, atau "You don't have to stay in that dirty-little dirty-little dirty-little yard." Dan gw ngakak abis, pas Charlotte minta diejain kata 'TERRIFIC', dan si soang bilang: "I think it's tee double ee double rr double rr double eye double ff double eye double see see see see see." HAHAHAHAHA!!! *guling-guling*Anyway, ketika Charlotte udah mo mati (huu huu bener nih Charlotte nya mati), dia bilang: "After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die." Bener banget ya? Kita lahir, hidup sebentar, trus mati. Apa yang bisa kita bawa selain amal baik? Spider aja berbuat baik selama hidupnya, kita bisa gak ya?Sekali lagi, what a wonderful story!

Wilbur is the runt of the litter and about to be put down - but Fern, the farmer’s daughter, saves him from the axe and raises him herself. After he begins to grow, she has to give up Wilbur to her uncle to look after and at the uncle’s farm the pig meets Charlotte, an intelligent and worldly spider, who takes it upon herself to save Wilbur’s bacon again. Ok, first of all - yes, I know this is aimed at 6 year olds up to around 11 or so. But I honestly tried reading this with a kid’s eye and even then I was horribly bored by this so-called “classic”. Putting aside Wilbur’s annoying neediness and whining (we’re supposed to be rooting for this weeny!), there is almost no story here. Charlotte spins the words “Some Pig” onto her cobweb above Wilbur’s pen, the farmer sees it and decides not to kill Wilbur, believing it to be a special sign, and the pig becomes a local celebrity. Over the weeks, Charlotte spins a few different words into her web and the bumpkins are impressed. A moment of cheap sentimentality later and the book’s over with. 180 pages! This book drags on for 180 pages with words in a cobweb as the only thing happening!! It should've been half that length at the most. As a grown-up reader, I can get through some boring books - Charlotte’s Web is a good example! As a kid, I wouldn’t have had any patience for EB White’s tedium so it’s no wonder I didn’t read this until well past my childhood. However, even with much, much lowered standards and trying to read this as a stupider little person, this book still sucked. What kid would be entranced with such monotonous rubbish? Sure it’s age appropriate but a child reader should be excited by what they’re reading! I can appreciate that it deals with worthwhile themes of friendship and death fairly well, and White tries to make us appreciate the wonders around us that we take for granted. It’s not the words in the web that are incredible but the web itself. I get it. But as a kid, I read to be entertained and amazed. Books by Roald Dahl, Raymond Briggs, Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter, Dr Seuss, Brian Jacques, Oscar Wilde and Maurice Sendak wrote stories that did that. They stood out for their boundless imagination and powerful storytelling - stories where interesting stuff actually freakin’ happened! Charlotte’s Web doesn’t hold a candle to any of those writers’ output and I highly recommend looking up those writers than EB White. His stodgy book is perfect bedtime fodder though as it’ll get the sprogs to sleep in no time!
—Sam Quixote

Carol wrote: "Thanks for your input Pramod! :-)":) Please feel free to delete these comments if needed, Carol, as they are not directly related to the review...

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