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Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Charlotte’s web symbolizes the power of language. Although spiders, like Charlotte, are not well liked and might be considered bloodthirsty, Charlotte show wisdom and cunning in the way she tricks humans into reading her web. Not only does she draw the humans into her web, but she shapes what people think about Wilbur and what Wilbur thinks about himself. By calling Wilbur “some pig,” the Zuckermans begin viewing him as special. When Charlotte begins to use other descriptors such as “terrific,” “radiant,” and “humble,” Wilbur attempts to live up to them. Charlotte disregards words such as “crunchy” that would lead to people viewing Wilbur in an appetizing way. Choosing language to spin into her web that speaks positively about Wilbur ultimately saves his life.
The arrival of crickets symbolizes a change in season. The crickets literally arrive as the seasons change from summer to fall and the change means harvest time for some of the character and going back to school for others. For Wilbur, the change of seasons means his potential death at Christmastime is drawing closer. By marking the change of the seasons, the crickets mark the rising of the conflict before the climax of the story. While the passage of time scares Wilbur, the season change is not inherently good or bad. The passage of time simply means that life is moving forward as is natural. Whether the characters are excited for it or not does not matter.
Charlotte’s egg sac symbolizes hope for the future. Before Charlotte dies at the fair, she makes an egg sac that Wilbur takes home with him. Throughout the story, Charlotte provided hope and friendship for Wilbur and ultimately saved his life. However, Wilbur still experiences the pain of death when his closest friend dies. When he takes the egg sac home, he has hope for a new future, living up to all of the things that he learned from Charlotte that helped him mature. This hope for the future is even marked in the way that he looks after egg sac. He is no longer young and bored but takes his responsibility of looking after Charlotte’s children seriously. When they emerge from the egg sac, Wilbur’s hope is found to be rightly placed. When three of Charlotte’s daughters stay, we see the realization of the Wilbur’s hope for the future, with friends for many years to come.