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"Once More to the Lake" read through analysis

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"Once More to the Lake" read through analysis

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  • November 15, 2004
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"Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration." -Kahlil Gibran, "Children of Gods, Scions of Apes" . The understanding of the passage of time is the main theme in the essay of "Once More to the Lake" by E.B. White. The essay is a story of White and his son revisiting his childhood vacationing spot and how the passage of time since his previous visits has a relentless hold on him as White comes to accept his own mortality. White uses literary techniques such as imagery, metaphor, and tone to illustrate the comparison of the lake as he remembers it as a boy to the subtle changes it has faced since he has been away. White often describes recent experiences and then relates them closely to his past experiences which bring up seemingly forgotten old memories he had not known he could remember. His use of these comparisons contributes to this essay's theme of embracing the passage of time and the ability to comprehend one's own mortality.

On the way to the lake, White wonders how the lake would be different; " how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot . . .". He was certain there would be changes as he slowly descended into detailed reminiscences of the smells of his old bedroom and the "stillness of the cathedral". When White and his son settled into the campsite and as he heard his son sneak out to go to the shore, something White used to do, he adopted a "dual existence" and had, "by simple transposition", become his father and his son was himself as a young boy. The imagery used by White contributes to the comparison in the essay because it leads the reader through the entire passage with words so rich and alive the reader could feel exactly what White was feeling and in turn relate those feelings to their own experiences and fond memories. The speaker also uses the repetitive statement that " there had been no years", that is, he felt...