Wilbur is established as the protagonist of Charlotte’s Web after he is saved by Fern, but he is shown as a dependent character early as he needed Fern to save him to even survive. Despite being born a runt, he was bottle fed by Fern and not only survived but thrived. After being sold to Mr. Zuckerman, he is still shown to be a highly dependent character. He needs to be provided for and is desperate for friends. Even to avoid death, he is dependent on his friend Charlotte to come up with and execute a plan of action.

As a very childlike character, Wilbur is lighthearted and playful. He desires friends and frequently pursues friendships with those around him. After forming a close bond with Fern and then seeing her regularly, he feels the loneliness of trying to make new friends. He is easily excitable and has much to learn. Experiencing and learning new things keeps him humble.

While Wilbur’s childlikeness makes him eager to make friends, it also leaves him very fearful. He is obviously fearful and disturbed by the news that the Zuckermans plan to slaughter him, but he is also easily frightened by other things. He asks for comfort, reassurance, and help when he is afraid. He frequently turns to Charlotte in particular during these times.