Once More to the Lake

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Respond to questions about E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake.”

1.What does White suggest about the nature of memory? Why, for example, can he sometimes feel like both his father and his son? White suggests the nature of memory is the repeating of generations. He felt like his father because with his son he remembers doing the same things that his father did when he was younger, and he felt like his son because his son was doing some of the same things he had done with his father when he was a boy.

2.Cite two examples of the way White moves between his present and his past and explain the details that trigger his journey back in time. a.“I knew it, lying in bed the first morning smelling the bedroom and hearing the boy sneak out and go off along the shore in a boat” (White 195). He used to do the same thing when he was a boy there with his father, and hearing his son doing took him back. b.“I would be in the middle of a simple act, I would be picking up a bait box or laying down a table fork, or I would be saying something and suddenly it would not be I but my father who was saying the words or making the gesture” (White 195). The little things that White was doing with his son, no matter how big or small it all took him back to where he and his father was when they would be there for vacation.

3.White can recapture sensory impressions of both his childhood and his more recent vacation with his son. Cite three of his vivid images (word pictures). a. “In the shallows, the dark, water-soaked sticks and twigs, smooth and old, were undulating in clusters on the bottom against the clean ribbed sand, and the track of the mussel was plain” (White 196). b.“Up to the farmhouse to dinner through the teeming dusty field, the road under our sneakers was only a two-tracked road” (White 196). c.“The cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky”...
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