E.B. White describes a nostalgic trip to a lake full of childhood memories in his essay, Once More to the Lake. White takes his son to a camp that he spent a lot of time at as a young boy and feels as if he has gone back in time. He has grown older and things have changed in his life, while it seems like this camp has been practically frozen in time for years. White uses various rhetorical techniques as he explores the clash of past in present in this chilling essay.
White uses outstanding imagery in telling his story. After reading only a few paragraphs of the essay, readers already feel like they are right there with him. White clearly uses all five senses to give the readers a full feel of the environment at the camp. He says things such as, “…the lake was cool and motionless, remembered how the bedroom smelled of the lumber it was made of and of the wet woods whose scent entered through the screen…” (White). This sentence alone uses sight and smell to appeal to the reader’s senses.
Another key element that White takes advantage of is he usage of the word “and”. White uses “and” many, many times throughout the essay for a very specific reason. White wants to create a feeling of continuation. The underlying sense of the essay is that of time. By repeating “and”, he emphasizes that time never ends. He was once a young boy that had the time of his life on this lake, and now times have changed. He watches his son play around the camp and sees himself in his son’s shoes many years earlier. He also closes the essay with a sentence beginning with “and”. Although this sentence is about death, it also feels as though there is an element of “life after death”, if you may. White learns to accept that he is no longer young, and that one day he will die, as will his son.
White writes an incredibly moving piece about a topic that could have been fairly bland. White turns a simple narrative into a work of art as he crafts this story so delicately that readers feel as though they are right on that camp next to him. White’s poetic word choice and imagery create an incredible essay that makes the readers think twice about time, memory, and death.