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Once More To The Lake Argumentative

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Rhetorical Analysis of E.B. Whites Once More to the Lake E.B. Whites Once more to the Lake provides keen insight into the life of a middle-aged man reflecting on the past, present, and future. The setting of the essay primarily resides at a lake that offered the author endless amounts of pleasure as a child. Now as an adult, the author wishes to relive this experience and try to recapture his youth. Throughout the essay a major theme develops: Although the passage of time produces a link between generations, it in itself reflects human beings own mortality.

From the age of five, the author began to enjoy perennial pleasure at a majestic lake in Maine with his family. As an adult, however, he seems to have strayed away from his youth to a certain degree, and now calls himself a salt-water man, no longer able to enjoy the pleasures of a fresh, youthful life (lake). While this remains true, the restlessness of the tides sometimes prevails, and he begins to yearn for his childhood memories of adolescence and happiness.

In an effort to satisfy these desires, he returns to the lake in his early forties with his son. On the journey to the lake he ponders about how the lake might differ from his own recollections. His mind starts to link past events together in a chain of thought that seems to tie them to the present. While White claims to be revisiting old haunts, he also makes reference to the lake holding sacred and holy qualities. This provides evidence that he may feel somewhat apprehensive of the discoveries he will encounter on the trip.

One such discover he wishes to avoid remains his own mortality. To accomplish this he begins to look for things that have not changed over the years. Beginning in the fourth paragraph, the author starts to produce the sense that the years were a mirage and there had been no years. Indeed, the repetition of phrases such as these allow the reader to obtain a better appreciation for the degree in which the author wishes time would not move forward. White also provides specific examples on his determination to link the past to the present. He reflects on the fact that a road still leads to the lake, and 15-year-old country girls still serve meals for the lakes visitors.

The lake itself provides a clear focal point for many of the authors thoughts. He desires to relate to the lake because he sees the lake as a figure that has stood the test of time and endured without aging. Expressions such as the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can, small waves were the same, and same fresh water leavings and debris provide further evidence the author believes there had been no passage of time between the present time and his childhood.

While ruminating about the pasts ties to the present, White continues a mental metamorphosis that began earlier on the trip. Upon arriving to the lake, White remembers how he used to sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the canoe. When he wakes up one morning to hear his son doing the same, White begins to sustain the illusion that he (child) was I (White). While at times White feels he is his son, he also catches himself playing the role of his own father from time to time. The multiple existences he perceives give him a creepy sensation. While fishing on his boat with his son, White remembers doing just such a thing as a child, and begins to wonder which rod I was at the end of. As a dragonfly lands on the end of his rod, White dips his rod into the water as if to test the waters of his youth. The dragonfly momentarily flies away before returning to the end of the rod, as if it to reaffirm the authors hope that there had been no years.

As White begins to take note of the multiple characters he plays in his mind while desperately trying to maintain feelings of youthfulness, he begins to see his own mortality face-to-face. Many advancements of the times creep up on him unexpectedly, even in places he at first thinks remain the same. A new, tarred road replaces the dirt road that once lead to the campground. The country girls that he thinks have been unsusceptible to time actually have changedwith new, clean hairstyles. And the road that once included three tracks has been reduced to twothe track for horses no longer needed due to vehicles being produced in mass quantities. This observance starts the downward spiral the author takes in the essay from feeling he remains full of youth to knowing he remains destined for death. The symbolism involved revolves around the three personas White partakes. Just as one of the tracks has disappeared, one persona in his life (his father) has died and never will return. White realizes that one day, he too, will fade away from existence.

Left with two personas, White begins to lose hold of the youthfulness he wishes to retain. He thinks back to his childhood and remembers how the summers always showed so much life and that everything seemed good and pleasurable. He believes the summers of the past to be almost too precious to compare to the present times. In this thought he further loosens his grip of his past, his youth. Although he begins to realize his childhood past remains gone forever, he believes the past traditions, such as arriving to the campsite by wagon, hold truly unique and invaluable qualities that he should treasure in his heart.

Other events also start to break the illusion and set the years moving. White provides an extensive account of how the motorboats had changed over the years. No longer could one enjoy the nice, solemn, and quiet motorboats of the past. Instead, newer, faster, and louder motors had been developed, damaging the tranquility that once existed.

In the final two paragraphs of the essay, White reaches a climax in his essay. The suspense of how the authors feelings will conclude persists as, Everywhere I went I had trouble making out which was I, the one walking at my side, the one walking in my pants. Although so much evidence exists that the past is gone, never to be relived, White still clings to the hope that he can retain youthfulness.

Finally, a storm erupts over the focal point of Whites youth, the lake. The storm not only disturbs the nature of the lake and its visitors, it also begins a debacle of Whites vision of youth. As the weather calms, White retains a false hope one last time that his youth remains intact and cannot be completely destroyed. Phases such as joy and relief, hope and spirits, and children screaming with delight lead the reader to believe that White feels he has overcome his fear of death. The same events and occurrences happen now after a storm that did in the past, linking the generations in a strong indestructible chain. This chain, however, actually leads to the authors realization of his own mortality. As his son prepares to jump into the lake after the storm subsides, White realizes he has absolutely no intention of partaking in this childhood luxury. This realization instantaneously destroys his hope to retain his youthfulness, and as his son pulls on his wet, cold shorts, White feels the chill of death in his groin, a place often associated with life and fertility. E.B. Whites Once More to the Lake reflects on the authors discovery that a chain connects the past to the present. But as God assigned him a specific link in that chain, he must accept his own mortality, and deter from creating false illusions that he can summon his past youth by means of his surroundings.

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