“Once More to the Lake” is a short story by E.B. White that was first published in 1941. In the story, the narrator reflects on his childhood experiences at a lake, and how they have changed now that he is a father himself.
The story begins with the narrator recalling a particular trip to the lake from his childhood. He remembers how excited he was to be there, and all of the familiar sights and sounds of the place.
Now, as an adult, the narrator returns to the same lake with his own son. He is struck by how much has stayed the same, despite the passage of time. The lake still smells the same, and the same kind of fish are swimming in it.
However, the narrator also notices the ways in which things have changed. His own son is now the same age that he was when he first visited the lake. This makes the narrator feel both nostalgic and sad, as he reflects on his own mortality.
In the end, the narrator comes to a realization that although time may change some things, there are some things that will always remain the same.
“Once More to the Lake” is a beautiful and poignant story about childhood memories, fatherhood, and the inevitability of change.
E.B Whites essay, “Once More to the Lake” tells the story of a father and son vacationing at the same lake White used to visit as a child. With every memory that resurfaces from his childhood, he feels as if no time has passed since he was last there showing how much things can change with age while still remaining the same.
In the beginning of the essay, White describes his trip up north to the lake with his son. As they are packing their belongings in the car, he realizes that everything is exactly like it was when he was a child and going on the same trip. Even the way his son packs is exactly how he did it as a child. This realization causes him to feel as if no time has passed and he is still that small boy.
Once they arrive at the lake and set up their camp, more memories start to come back to him. He hears his father coughing in the morning, just like he used to when White was a child. The meals they ate were also exactly the same as when he was younger.
As a boy, his father would take him to the same camping spot every year. Even though he was certain that there would be changes by now, upon arrival, all of the sights, sounds, and smells transported him back to feeling peaceful at the lake in Maine.
The memories of his father come flooding back, and he is transported back in time to when he was a boy.
He remembers the excitement of waiting for his father to finish packing the car so they could finally leave for their vacation. He recalls the long car ride and how his father would sing songs to pass the time. When they would finally arrive at the lake, he would race down to the water to go swimming.
Now, as an adult, he can appreciate the beauty of the lake and the peace it brings him. He still feels a sense of wonder when he looks out at the water and sees the same view that he did as a child. Even though time has passed, this place remains special to him and always will.
The overall mood of the tale is acceptance of aging and the passage of time. White fights against it throughout the narrative, as reality becomes more difficult for him to grasp. The author employs a number of literary techniques to create vivid descriptions and comparisons, including imagery, tone, and symbolism.
The story is based on a trip that White takes with his young son, to the same lake that he went to as a child. Every summer, White and his family would go to this particular lake in New England
For White, this trip back to the lake house is full of remembrance and Deja Vu. He constantly compares his current self, to his younger self through out the story.
When they first arrive at the lake and begin to unpack, he has a moment where he is standing in the kitchen and “for just an instant he had stepped out time and into memory…He was no longer a boy but he was not yet a man.”
This struggle between boyhood and manhood is a common theme for White and becomes one of the strongest elements as the story progresses.
While at the lake, White spends most of his time observing his son and comparing him to himself at that age. He is amazed by how much they are alike and also by how different they are.
“He looked hard at his son…trying to separate him from himself. It was not easy to do.”
This idea of separating himself from his son, also ties into the overall theme of aging. As he gets older, White begins to realize that he is no longer the boy he once was and that time has moved on without him.
The narrator uses descriptive language and comparisons to transport the reader into his own memories, making it difficult for him to come back to reality and face the fact that he has aged significantly since then. These reincarnated memories make White feel as though he is living in a “dual existence.”
The lake is a place where the passage of time seems to stand still. Even though it has been years since he was there last, everything looks exactly the same. The same dock, the same trees, and even the same outhouse. To White, it feels as if he has never left.
In the essay, White uses plenty of similes and metaphors to describe his experiences. He talks about how “the water was brownish-green, with yellow foam edging the shore” (1). The way he uses specific colors helps set a visual for the reader while also providing emotion.
Although this story is rather short, only a little over a page, E.B. White packs a lot of detail into his words. By the end, the reader feels as if they have taken the journey with him and can visualize everything he describes.
E.B. White’s short story “Once More to the Lake” is a beautiful example of how nostalgia can bring about intense feelings of both joy and sadness. Through the use of vivid language and comparisons, White is able to transport the reader back in time to his own childhood memories while also providing a new perspective on aging.