Reading a good novel transports us to a different world filled with people—and even animals—who feel very real. When a beloved fictional character dies, we feel devastated. Often our grief persists after we close the book, and we may walk around feeling sad ... and maybe even angry with the author.
The best way to cope is to express your feelings and ignore those who think you’re silly for grieving. They just don’t get it, but we do! So, let's grab a tissue together and consider why the following deaths of some of our favorite fictional characters can still bring us to tears.
An oh, some serious spoiler alerts ahead.
As children, we learn lessons about friendship, love, and loss, and a bunch of those lessons came to us in written form from the children's novel Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (published in 1952). This beloved classic tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a spider, Charlotte, who saves his life when he’s in danger of being slaughtered. When Charlotte reaches the end of her natural life, it's hard not to sob along with Wilbur, even as he saves the sac of her eggs. When they hatch, three spiders remain on the farm and become new friends for Wilbur, though they can never replace Charlotte.
But, E. B. White actually prepared us for this devastating twist. He foreshadowed Charlotte's death: “Everybody heard the song of the crickets ... Charlotte heard it and knew that she hadn’t much time left.”
Need a pick-me-up?