The Moral Premise
A few notes leading up to the moral premise.
1. Much is made in the movie (more than the book) about the miracles that haunt our everyday lives, if we'd only take time to look for them. Dr. Dorian (Beau Bridges) tells Fern's mother (Jessie Davis) that the spider web, even without Charlotte's words, is a miracle. He also suggests that he and others probably can't hear animals talk because we don't listen close enough.
2. As described in Part 3 of the Charlotte Web posts, Respect for Life is a big theme in the movie.
3. A disrespect for life, especially under selfish motives, is made evident by the rat Templeton -- another example of how the best stories have the best and most "endearing" antagonists. Templeton despises life, and at every turn wants to devour anything in sight, including the goslings. In the book, E.B.White describes Templeton like this:
The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything. He would kill a gosling if he could get away with it—the goose knew that. Everybody knew it.Nevertheless, Templeton is cajoled to help Wilbur and Charlotte but only out of selfish and gluttonous greed, of course.
Therefore, the moral premise for Charlotte's Web could be stated this way:
I think you'll discover that this premise also holds up for the storylines of Mr. and Mrs. Arable, Mr. and Mrs. Zuckerman, and the community of Somerset County as a whole.
Disrespect for life's miracles leads to lonliness & sadness; but
Respect for life's miracles leads to friendships & joy.
The Moment of Grace
The Moment of Grace occurs at 48 minutes (exactly ½ way through the film if you count the credits) when Fern, desperate to find a way to save Wilbur from the smokehouse, discovers that she can enter Wilbur in the 4H competition at the county fair, and if he wins a ribbon, he might not be slaughtered. From that moment on, all effort is aimed at preparing Wilbur for the fair, rather than the smokehouse.
TRIVIA - What does E.B. stand for?
Many may not know that E.B. White was a man. His first two names were Elwyn Brooks. In the movie, the filmmakers honored E.B. "White" by naming the two "black" crows Elwyn and Brooks—two of the most entertaining characters in the movie -- they are not in the book.