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Fern, the eight-year-old girl who initially begs for Wilbur’s life to be spared, is a highly compassionate young girl. Although she lives on the farm, she is seemingly unaware of the circle of life that is part of living on a farm and therefore is distraught over the potential death of one of the young animals. This spurs her to action, not just saving Wilbur from being killed but also putting in the work to bottle feed and raise him. She is quiet and patient, quickly earning the trust of the animals in the barn. Fern considers the animals in the Zuckermans’ barn to be some of her best friends and makes going to see them a priority. Her commitment to the animals and the stories she hears form them concerns her mother.
Since Fern raised Wilbur, they have a close connection. She treats Wilbur like a doll, allows Wilbur to follow her around while she is caring for him, and spends as much time with him as she can. Her friendship with Wilbur shapes the first half of the novel. However, Fern is growing up and her interests change. Although she is invested in the outcome of Charlotte’s plan, she begins to grow beyond animals and wants to spend more time with her peers. Just as Wilbur grows and matures through the story, so does Fern.