Rhetorical Analysis of E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake” E.B. White’s “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...