Once More to the Lake Rhetoric Analysis

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Once More to the Lake Rhetoric Analysis

By | November 2011
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“Once More to the Lake,” by E.B. White, is about the return to the lake of his childhood after many years with his son. The theme of White's essay is the passage of time and the changes that it brings. He confronts multiple changes as he grapples with the idea that the peaceful place of his childhood, and his existence in it, remain the same. But while the lake in its essence remains unaffected by time, he himself is changed, and then he finally acknowledges one basic irony of life that he is subject to the normal course of birth, childhood and the path that guides to death. This awareness develops as he vividly describes his memories of the lake with his revisit with his son. The description of the cabin presents the first example of his concentration on details, and this begins his confusion of the present experience as it collides with the past. He reminisced “the early mornings, when the lake was cool and motionless, remembered how the bedroom smelled of the lumber it was made of and the wet woods whose scent entered through the screen”. His childhood routine of rising early and taking to the lake ties the present to the past as he hears his son do the same and prompts the confusion with the past and present. But taking his son fishing on the lake is the experience that persuades “beyond any doubt that everything was as it always had been. . .that there had been no years”. This belief of his is caused by the dragonfly that landed on the tip of his fishing pole. When he sees this he states that “there had been no years between the ducking of this dragonfly and the other one – the one that was part of memory”. This comparison with the past and present dragonfly act as evidence that everything remains the same, in spite of the passage of time. Truly, it is the consistency of the lake itself that gives him the greatest evidence that things have not changed. Then in the conclusion of “Once More to the Lake,” he uses a glaring metaphor to articulate the total...
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