Eadmin / March 31, 2019
E.B White in his narrative Once More to the Lake was a nostalgic reflection of memories
and changes, White’s essay chronicles a wistful and sentimental return to his beloved childhood
haven, a serene lake in Maine. As White relives his glorious pastimes in the haunts of his
adolescence, he is transported back into his youth. In”Once More to the Lake,” Elwyn Brooks
E.B White employs sensory details and imagery to convey the depth of his emotions and feelings
regarding the evolution of both the lake and himself.
As E.B White takes his son fishing, he recounts “the same damp moss in the bait
can…the dragonfly alights on the tip of his rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of
the water” and he is “convinced” that nothing has changed. White’s visual imagery allows us to
feel the spongy wetness of the boat and hear the unwavering buzz of insects. The “wisps of
moss,” “rusty discarded fishhook,” and “freshwater leavings and debris” evoke White’s yearning
to return to his past as he starts to feel “no years between” his memory and the present. Once his
trip progresses, White, in one instance, observes his son’s “hard little body…as he pulled up
around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment… my groin felt a chill of death.” White realizes
his illusions of reliving his childhood as he observes his son “going in too,” thereby “linking the
generations in a strong indestructible chain”. The visual imagery is effective, in how E.B White
had made us envision the scenery of the lake and details of it. The reader could envision while
reading, E.B White’s imagery, and surroundings as the narrative goes on.
Accordingly, White’s picturesque observations reflect the notion that growth is only
possible. White’s consciousness of his son’s naivety compels him to realize he can no longer be
the childish blithe adolescent of his past. E.B White also has many sensory details allowing us to
hear the sound of the mandolins; we could hear the girls singing; we could also taste the sugar
dipped donuts; we can see the moonlight sails. E.B White longs to relieve these years when he
first started to think about girls. In this sense, E.B White had a mid-life crisis but as he continues
through, the crisis was resolved. As time had preserved E.B White’s lake, what he calls a ‘holy
spot’, there were moments where that forced White to acknowledge that indeed time has passed.
The sensory details helped the reader to activate their 5 senses as they are reading. E.b White
effectively makes sensory details in explaining his experiences in detail. To help the readers to
envision life as he views it.
E.B. White’s essay “Once More to the Lake” also supports the idea of the necessity of
permanence, to some extent, in life. Even though the lake has changed over the years, it remains
a lake that the author can visit. It stands as a reminder of his childhood experiences. In this
regard, the lake sheds light on the benefit of having some form or degree of permanence in life.
E.B White’s tone is very nostalgic and reflective, it makes the reader envision the images the
author images. The sensory details and imagery are very effective, in providing the audience to
feel what White feels. Such permanence can help anchor the person and his psychological