Essay on Charlotte's Web: Webbing Characters with Words

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What defines a person? Is it his actions, his intention, or his reputation? No matter what the answer is, people associate who they are with the words used to describe them. The novel Charlotte’s Web is no exception, for within it, words are used as the basis for transforming perspectives. In the novel, the individual words weaved into Charlotte’s web transform the other characters’ perspectives of Wilbur. After realizing the impact and influence of words by witnessing the change in perspective of the other characters, Wilbur begins to change his perception of himself. Charlotte, on the other hand, uses words as a way to form a moral for Wilbur. This awareness of words reveals Wilbur’s and Charlotte’s relationship with words as a mechanism…show more content…
However, when Lurvy, the farmer’s helper, first sees the words on Charlotte’s web, he only notices it because “it was foggy…a spider’s web looks very distinct in a fog” (80). In essence, the words on the web are only visible because of how they are presented. If Lurvy did not go out into the barn when it was foggy outside, no one would have seen the words “some pig” (80) written on the web. This shows that timing, location, and manner of articulation are everything when presenting words. In this novel, writing is the strongest manner of articulation because, as Charlotte puts it, “people believe almost anything they see in print” (89). One can then conclude that written words overshadow verbal speech. When Fern verbally announces how special the animals are, no one believes her; but, when the words are visibly seen, people start to believe that Wilbur is extraordinary. When words are taken out of context, the whole meaning of the word can change. When Templeton gathers words for Charlotte to use, they see a soap ad with the words: “With New Radiant Action” (99). While the word ‘radiant’ was first associated with soap, when it is taken out of that context and

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