Adara Bernstein

  City of Birth:
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Adara's Story > Chapters > My Entire Life

"Reading Charlotte's Web" 


Date Range: 08/01/2008 To 08/01/2008   Comments: 1   Views: 32,846
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Charlotte's Web has a special, special place in my heart and life because it was the first time a story taught me about loss. I cared for Charlotte the spider. I cared for Wilbur. I couldn't understand why someone would want to eat a little pig. I could understand his will to live, his naivity at his purpose in life, and his first dismissal of the wise spider.

And Oh! Charlotte. I don't like spiders, but I adored Charlotte. She was kind, superior, brave, and strong. She risked it all to help out another species member. Life was life; life is sacred.

She taught me loss. She taught me love in unusual circumstances.

Recently I pulled out the book for my daughter and my husband and I sat on her bed, the 3 of us, taking turns reading it. Our child's eyes grew wide with wonder as her brain processed what was going on in the story. Lots of questions ensued, but sharing that tender moment with people who love you and you love before that vulnerable time of sleepiness and weakness, is a moment I wish I could wrap as a gift and give to all little children in the world.

"SOME PIG," "TERRIFIC," "RADIANT" - these are the words Charlotte chooses for her PR campaign to save Wilbur's life. Words they found in a magazine.

The story is of mercy, of kindness, of a gentle time when our meat came from our barnyard friends, not a meat packing industry that creates life in order to kill for us to consume. The futility of this is maddening.

The story is timeless. The little Fern moves on. Charlotte dies. I howled like a madwoman - all the anger and confusion at growing up that my little body could handle came out in those primordial screams - how could they let her die in that abandoned fairground where she saved his life????? She was so strong, she was so good - she loved him! And then the little babies that came - the cycle of life whether good or bad or appropriate or hurtful, life goes on.

I still cry today. I haven't watched the movie yet with Julia Robert's voice. I know when I do I will be a mess. My daughter will probably be comforting ME - or, we will share a bond in time and hopefully a memory, that we shared life and celebrated life, mercy, and love.

Charlotte's Web made me feel. It made me think. It awakened my senses to another world, the world of books, of emotions, of feeling. These stories should come with a warning on them - you'll feel like ca-ca after reading it, but you'll also feel a sense of wonder and placement in the world in a larger sense.

Charlotte was a spider who ate bugs. The rat was not kind and helping but when appealed to a bigger sense of purpose could be prodded into action. The people were not inherently evil and no one in the book seems to harbor them ill will even though they wanted to turn Wilbur into their christmas ham.

Sounds a little like people we know in real life, hmm?

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Olga Pinashova said:
posted on Sep 09, 2008
me too

I loved this book, have always loved this book, and can't wait to have children so I can make them love this book...