Charlotte's Web: Allegory of the Barn

Essay by ivzivkovicUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2004

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Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a children's novel that tries to instill the values of friendship, loyalty and basic characteristics of humans through an adventure of farm animals. This novel was written in the early 1950's at the time when the world was split by a curtain in two. It is open and direct in topics dealing with traits of certain animals and their role in the society of the "barn", but one cannot disconcert the subtle praise this novel gives to the society that this novel is encompassed by. Charlotte's Web contains re-occurring imagery, which implies that the society in which the characters live in is bountiful and that farm life is relatively easy, and brings the promise of simple but fruitful life. This novel, although intended for children, carries with it a strong ideological undertone that glorifies capitalism. This is not meant to be subversive in any way but rather it is a sign of the times that the author lived in and the strong forces that drove the American society when this novel was written.

The author indulges the reader with abundance of images that present the reader with the notion that the life in the country is effortless and that everyone is relatively well to do. The most prominent method used is the rather descriptive manner in which Mr. White describes the vehicles that are parked in front of Mr. Zuckermans barn. The author does not describe the vehicles merely as numerous but he goes on to name nine specific makes present " Fords and Chevvies and Buick roadmasters and GMC pickups and Plymoths and Studebakers and packards and De Sotos with gyromatic transmissions and Oldsmobiles with rocket engines and Jeep station wagons and Pontiacs"(83/84). He also goes on to describe some of the most...