1. When Fern learns that Papa is going to kill the runt of the litter.
“This is the most terrible case of injustice I’ve ever heard of!” she cries. A pretty harsh introduction to Social Darwinism.
2. But then raises him and names him Wilbur.
Introducing the movie’s theme that love and empathy save lives.
3. When Wilbur, having just narrowly escaped death, is sold to a nearby farm.
4. And then gets his third blow: finding out he’s going to be slaughtered soon.
“In the fall you’ll be turned into smoked bacon and ham. Just as soon as the cold sets in, they’ll kill you.” Thank you for putting it so delicately, elitist sheep.
5. And Wilbur reacts to the knowledge of his mortality much like the rest of us.
6. When Charlotte saves him by spinning webs to make it seem like Wilbur is a prophet pig.
It’s a dubious plan, but go with it, the metaphor here is that remarkable things happen when people work hard and make sacrifices for the one’s they love.
7. When you first heard the incredible music of the main song and the words “Sometimes when somebody loves you, miracles start to appear…”
If you’re wondering why its sad and yet hopeful tone sounds so familiar, the music was composed by the Sherman brothers, who also composed the equally evocative score to “Mary Poppins.”
8. But then Wilbur finds out Charlotte is dying.
Mortality is unavoidable, so what Charlotte really teaches Wilbur is that the best thing we can do in life is treasure it and helps others, and to not feat death because it’s what makes life meaningful.
9. As Charlotte says just before she passes, “What is a life anyway? We’re born. We live a little and then we die.”
Clearly, she’s an existentialist.
10. Remember the beautiful lyrics to “Mother Earth and Father Time”?
“He turns the seasons around/ and so she changes her gown/ but they always look in their prime/ They go on dancing their dance/ of everlasting romance/ Mother Earth and Father Time.” So poetic and poignant.
11. When Wilbur witnesses the birth of Charlotte’s children after she’s gone.
Existence is cyclical, life and death part of the same circle, just like the seasons.
12. But then they release their webs and fly away.
A metaphor for the fact that life is just a fleeting moment and it passes so quickly.
13. But three who are too small to fly, stay with him.
And Wilbur tells them to write (since apparently all spiders are writers) a eulogy for Charlotte over the doorway when they grow up. SOB.
14. And he rocks them to sleep, remembering the lessons that Charlotte taught him.
I went vegetarian for a whole week as a 12-year-old after this movie.