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Sensitive and vulnerable, Wilbur is born a runt and saved from an untimely death by Fern who subsequently looks after him until he is five weeks old. He is pampered and babied by her and is completely content when he is surrounded by Fern's love: he is wheeled around in her pram and he joins her and Avery when they go swimming and wallows in the nearby mud. When he is then taken from her, he is very lonely until he finds love when he meets Charlotte.
In the barn, Wilbur meets Charlotte. When he first meets her, he worries about the bloodthirsty way in which she catches and eats her prey but he soon realizes that she has no choice but to catch insects for her own survival and that she is really very caring and kind. Wilbur is keen to learn from Charlotte’s knowledge and wisdom and the first time they speak to each other Charlotte teaches him a new word. “Salutations!” she says and, when Wilbur asks what that means, she goes on to tell him: “Salutations are greetings.”
When Wilbur tries to learn how to spin a web he is persistent and tries hard to get the technique right but soon realizes that he is not equipped to build such a thing. Wilbur spends the bulk of the novel worried about his livelihood. For that reason, he is often insecure and relies on Charlotte a lot: at the fair he hopes Charlotte will be able to help him one last time by weaving her web. He is very polite and considerate and apologizes to the other animals for waking them when he is calling out in search of his new friend.
Wilbur experiences a whole range of emotions on his journey through the novel and his life is saved twice by two devoted friends. He is forever grateful to Charlotte’s kindness in particular and does the only thing he can think of to repay her – he looks after her egg sac.