Monday, May 16, 2011

Fern and I Would Have Been Great Friends

Yesterday I settled down to read Charlotte's Web, but I barely made it through the beginning pages without feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. I am usually not a warm and fuzzy type of person, but I felt this way for two reasons:

1) "No, I only distribute pigs to early risers. Fern was up at daylight trying to rid the world of injustice" (5).

This quote will bring any Wallentine to roll their eyes. I can't count the number of times I have heard either my own father or any of his brothers quote this line. I used to think my father was a real comedian, but then I learned that most of his funny lines come from Charlotte's Web or The Outlaw Josey Wales. This particular line was said at any moment of good intent on the farm. If I stopped the swather to let a mouse run out of the way, he would laugh, roll his eyes and say I can't rid the world of every injustice. This line is part of my childhood. It rolls through my mind whenever I do or see anyone else take a minute to step over the worms on the sidewalk or swerve to miss (an action rarely done in the Wallentine family, right Laci?) a rodent running across the road.

2) Bottle feeding! When Fern is given the runt pig to care for, she is now required to feed the piglet by bottle. I grew up doing this. I have tried and tested thousands of ways of mixing powder milk without getting clumps or spilling it everywhere. One summer I stole my mother's wire wisk to whip up the milk. She later found out and was not impressed with integrating her cooking utensils into my daily chores. My dad once showed me how he would place the palm of his hand over the top of the bottle and then shake it to mix the powder; he failed to mention that your palm had to be quite a bit bigger than the bottle top or the milk would end up covering your face. Reminiscing on my childhood, I think I can claim that I have bottle fed almost every animal on a farm including, cows, horses, lambs, pigs, chicks (not by bottle of course!), cats and even a dog or two.

I am only a few pages into Charlotte's Web, but already I am excited to delve deeper into consuming this piece of literature through different avenues. Dr Burton wants us to consume our personal novels in a different way than usual, so how I plan to do this in several ways. A couple examples are: first, read it with an avatar. A PETA avatar. This one will be interesting and hard, since PETA and I disagree on some points. Second, is from the point of view of different characters. The jealous younger brother? Templeton? Fern? Third, is via experiments. Living on a farm is great, and reading this book gives me an excuse to go home and play with the pigs! : )


  1. I really enjoyed this Carlie. One question, What is an avatar? or even a PETA avatar?

  2. Oh my SWEAR word! Carlie, I just wrote the LONGEST most detailed blog response and it just told me there was an error! My Wallentine temper is kicking I apologize but I will have to try again when I calm down. It might be a few hours...grrr!