An essay by E.B. White about his childhood memory of a summer lake trip, and how he shares it with his son.

Once More to the Lake, By E.B. White

E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake” is a touching piece that places the main character, himself, back into his memories as a child.  White uses intense descriptions to create a picture of no only what the lake is like now, but also what it was like when he was a kid.

White starts the story by describing the setting of the lake as it was when he was a kid.  He sarcastically recalls a few incidents that were out of the ordinary such as getting ringworm or his father falling out of the boat.  He is implying that the trip is meant to be peaceful and calm because these events, which aren’t too drastic, stick out as the more dramatic incidents.  He finds himself reminiscing a lot about going back and eventually the desire became so intense that he opts to take a weeklong trip to the lake with his son.  On the way he starts remembering very specific details that E.B. White gives to us.  The lumber smelling bedroom, the short room partitions, and waking early in the morning to sneak out of the cabin and go out with the canoe.  He creates a vivid picture of what the life was like when he was a kid.  When he comes to the lake again he sees that it has hardly changed.

White also starts to put in similarities between himself and his son which he starts picking up through out the story.  He hears his son sneaking out of the house in the morning and taking the canoe out, just as he did when he was a kid.  When they were fishing off the boat, White describes the dragonflies flying around his son’s rod and visualizes himself in his position.  Instead of separating his memories and his sons experiences, he starts to combine them and becomes unsure of what memory he is actually in.

At the same time he notices small changes that have occurred.  He notices that the outboard motor boats that are much more disturbing than the previous inboard motor boats.  He also sees that his son enjoys and understands the newer technology more than himself.

In the final paragraph, White’s son is about to go swimming after a thunderstorm.  White is watching as his son goes into the water and winces at the sudden chill that the cold suit gives him when he puts it on.  White also feels the chill, and understands that he is not the same kid that has been going to this lake every summer, rather he is himself, grown and mature, and his son is going through what he did.  It is a cycle of life and White knows that while his son is only at the beginning, he is getting closer to the end.

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