I love Wilbur. It seems impossible not to. Who wouldn’t love a pig who does back flips and is best friends with a spider. As a child, I loved Wilbur so much that I desperately pleaded with my parents to buy me a pig. Clearly they are the perfect pet. While I was rereading Charlotte’s Web for this course, I saw a different side of Wilbur that I had missed as a child. Wilbur is completely helpless.
Wilbur’s progress is pushed forward by the other characters. Without Fern, Wilbur would never have made it passed his first few weeks. The sheep and geese on the farm instructed him in how to act like a normal pig. Charlotte stopped him from becoming Christmas dinner. Even Templeton was mildly helpful, getting words for Charlotte to use in her web and retrieving the egg sac for Wilbur. The only decision Wilbur made for himself is to bring Charlotte’s egg sac back to the barn with him, but his independence dwindles when he realizes the baby spiders do not intend to stay at the barn. All of this makes Wilbur very child like and endearing. While the other characters grow and change, Wilbur is the baby of the barn. Fern discovers boys, the goslings grow up, Templeton becomes a little less of a jerk, Charlotte has babies and saves Wilbur’s life, even the babies establish independence by deciding to leave the barn. Not Wilbur. He is a baby pig looking for a friend. Making him extremely lovable, but not necessarily the pig to turn to when you need to get things done.