Michael Sims’s ode to the barn reminds me that it’s time to re-read Charlotte’s Web.
Inevitably, though, the morality of farming troubled White, especially his betrayal of a pig’s trust when he suddenly turned from provider to executioner. In the fall of 1947, a pig he had planned to slaughter became ill, and White labored heroically but failed to save its life, a sad farce he immortalized in his 1948 essay “Death of a Pig.” In his animal-populated imagination, however, the pig lived on. White began to envision stories in which the poor animal’s life might be endangered — only this time it would survive.
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