The Passing of Time Illustrated in White's, Once More to the Lake

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As individuals progress through life, everything is measured by time in some manner. To grasp the use of time in literature, the reader must see time as movement from one event to another in chronological order. It is when the writer changes the order of events in a story that the reader must piece together what they are reading in order to comprehend the material. In E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake”, time is used in order to compare the present surroundings of the lake, to how it was when he went there as a kid.

When comparing the present to the past the writer must go into detail of certain aspects of the location in order to maintain some sort of legitimacy. By starting off with the past, White can quickly transition from the time with his father to the time there with his son. Though he changes back and forth between the past and present, Whites use of verb tense makes the reading much easier to follow. In a story that is constantly transitioning between the past and the present, it is important to keep track of verb tense usage, any sort of mistake could confuse the reader.

“Once More to the Lake” demonstrates White’s love of consistency from growing up on into adulthood. White sets the stage halfway through the first paragraph, mentioning that he and his father "returned summer after summer", longing to one day go back to the place that he had enjoyed so much. This trip back to the lake brings back plenty of memories, as if there were no passage of time. It is on this trip that White realizes that his son has the same eagerness that he did when he was a boy. To White, all of this is a shock because now his role is reversed from an energized child to a lifeless parent, as he remembered his father being when they...

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...n in 7 years. As we approached the building memories started to flash through my mind, what it was once like to not have a care in the world. From that point on it was just thought after thought of how things used to be. How the cafeteria seemed like the biggest room ever, the playground was a place of endless amounts of fun, and getting a “pink slip” was the worst punishment in the world.

Going back to a place where I spent most of my childhood caused me to reflect on how things had changed since I left there, and what type of a person I had become. Like White in “Once More to the Lake”, I experienced the feeling of realization that I am no longer a child and that I will never get those years back. While time generally does play a big factor in life, more important is to understand and take away from the important experiences that occur through one’s lifetime.

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