Summary: Chapter XI. The Miracle

A heavy morning fog leaves drops of water on Charlotte’s web, making it glisten. When Lurvy comes to deliver Wilbur’s breakfast, he notices the web’s beauty and two words spelled out in its middle: SOME PIG! Astonished, Lurvy gets Mr. Zuckerman to come see the web. Both men tremble. They look at Wilbur and then at Charlotte. Mr. Zuckerman returns to his house to inform Mrs. Zuckerman that a miracle has happened: A message in a spider web tells them they have a very unusual pig. She suggests that maybe the spider is unusual rather than the pig, but Mr. Zuckerman feels sure that the pig, not the spider, is special. 

The Zuckermans return to the pigpen and, along with Lurvy, stare in amazement at Wilbur. Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy agree that Wilbur certainly is some pig. Mr. Zuckerman changes into his best clothes and goes to inform the minister that a miracle has happened on his farm. The news spreads, and people from all over the county come to see Wilbur. The Zuckermans begin to neglect their farm, as all their time is taken up with entertaining the visitors and tending to Wilbur.

Summary: Chapter XII. A Meeting 

Charlotte calls all the barn animals together for a meeting. She needs ideas for more words about Wilbur to spin in her web. The goose suggests terrific, and Charlotte agrees. The oldest sheep suggests that Templeton tear out ads from newspapers and magazines in the dump and bring them to Charlotte for other words to use. At first, Templeton refuses, but the old sheep reminds him how much he relies on the leftover food in Wilbur’s trough. If Wilbur dies, there will be no food left over for Templeton. Templeton promises to look for a magazine clipping in the dump the next day. Charlotte calls the meeting to an end because she needs to start spinning the word terrific in her web. Wilbur insists he’s not terrific, but Charlotte tells him that to her, he is.

Summary: Chapters XI–XII

Charlotte makes a bold statement about who Wilbur is when she writes “SOME PIG!” in her web, affecting how others see him. Charlotte thinks the best way to save Wilbur is to trick gullible humans, so she decides how she thinks the humans should perceive him and spends much of her time and energy writing the words in her web. After reading the web, Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy look at Wilbur and agree that he is something special. Charlotte’s plan to get people seeing Wilbur as more than just meet is beginning to work. When Charlotte decides with the other animals in the barn that the next word should be “terrific,” Wilbur doubts that he is terrific. However, Charlotte is a loyal friend and tells him that he is terrific, and he begins to believe it. By shaping how Wilbur is talked about, both Wilbur and others begin seeing him as Charlotte does.

Coming up with ideas for Charlotte’s web becomes a communal effort, exhibiting the comradery formed amongst the barnyard animals. While the other animals help because they believe Wilbur’s life should be saved, Templeton only cares about himself. The oldest sheep reminds Templeton that, as much as he says he does not care what happens to Wilbur, he benefits from Wilbur being healthy and well. While the relationships with the other barn animals do not have the depth that Wilbur’s friendships with Charlotte and Fern have, it shows that being with others as opposed to being alone is a strength.

As the animals commune and work together to find more words to save Wilbur, the humans gather and contemplate the meaning of the words and the mysteries and miracles of the natural world. While everyone ponders this unnatural natural wonder, it draws people together. Ironically, they overthink the meaning behind the statement. Not only do they see the words as Charlotte intended them, that Wilbur is special and should not be slaughtered, but they also contemplate a higher meaning for the sign. As adults who work on farms, they look for a better reason to save an animal than just the compassion shown by someone like Fern. While Fern is happy people are beginning to see the wonders in the animal world, she misses the days when this was her own special world.