Advertising the Self: The Culture of Personality in E. B. White's <em>Charlotte's Web</em>

  • Gabrielle Ceraldi
Keywords: Charlotte's Web, American culture


E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web reflects the emergence of what Warren I. Susman has termed the “culture of personality.” This shift from an older culture of character to a newer culture of personality is thrown into sharp relief in the novel, which juxtaposes the bucolic Zuckerman farm against an emerging consumeristic society in which self-promotion has become necessary for success. While White acknowledges the need for confident self-promotion, he also interrogates the culture of personality, resurrecting aspects of the culture of character as a corrective to the competitive and egoistic norms of modern life.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2014.0000

Author Biography

Gabrielle Ceraldi

Gabrielle Ceraldi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, where she teaches children’s literature. She has recently developed a course on the Harry Potter series and has an article forthcoming in a collection of essays on the same subject. Her current research examines L. M. Montgomery’s engagement with advertising culture in Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island.

How to Cite
Ceraldi, G. (2014). Advertising the Self: The Culture of Personality in E. B. White’s <em>Charlotte’s Web</em&gt;. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 6(1). Retrieved from
Articles for Special Issue on Consumption