Saturday, November 27, 2010

Charlotte's Web

Today I finished reading Charlotte's Web to the kids. I managed to do it without crying, though I was sniffing a bunch and had to stop to "cough" a few times. What a beautiful book!

I didn't grow up on a farm or in the country and I find farms to be pretty messy and stinky. But books like this make me wish I had some barns and animals and hay and manure and cherry trees and ponds in my life. I guess that's the beauty of reading. For a little while, I did have those things.

I used to think this was just a cute story about a pig who didn't want to be made into bacon, but it's much more than that. It's about the joy of living and what makes living joyous. Wilbur is not very clever, not very handsome, and not very talented. Charlotte is an ordinary gray spider who sucks blood and has an impressive vocabulary. What can a spider do to save a pig? And why would she even bother? In Charlotte's own words:
"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."

1 comment:

  1. It's been forever since I've read that.... I'll have to get our copy out to read with Jacob after we finish Little House in the Big Woods.