“Charlotte’s Web” wasn’t E.B. White‘s first story about a pig. The first was a true accounting of pig that he had that fell ill, called “Death of a Pig” the tale shows how much affection White had for the animals on his farm. That tenderness toward animals is clearly evidenced in the nuanced anthropomorphism of the characters in “Charlotte’s Web”. In fact, it could be said that Wilbur is White’s attempt to save a pig retroactively. Like Wilbur, Charlotte was also inspired by real animals on the White farm. E.B. White spent a good deal of time observing the spider that inspired Charlotte, he even cut down the egg sac that she built and allowed it to hatch in candy box letting his room become a haven to the tiny spiderlings . . . that is until a housekeeper demanded he remove them.
Charlotte’s Web, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board