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White’s Midlife Crisis

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White’s Midlife Crisis

Throughout E.B White’s essay, “Once More to the Lake”, White presents his “holy spot”, the lake he would visit every summer as a child, through the use of sensory details to take the reader through the peaceful experience. White revisits this sacred lake with the excuse of bringing his son, perhaps to relive these soothing memories once again. Therefore, this essay seems to take the journey of White’s midlife crisis due to him experiencing this trip more as a memory rather than enjoying it as what it is. Unfortunately, White later on comes to the realization that this trip is no longer a memory and that he is no longer a child.

As the essay begins, White spends his time observing his surroundings and comparing it to what it used to be. White would get this sense of joy when he would realize that his surroundings matched up with his memory, however, he would also get upset when they wouldn't. In fact, the moment it started was when White and his son first arrived at the camp and White stated, “I could tell that it was going to be pretty much the same as it had been before--I knew it, lying in bed the first morning, smelling the bedroom, and hearing the boy sneak quietly out and go off along the shore in a boat. I began to sustain the illusion that he was I, and therefore, by simple transposition, that I was my father.”. It seems that White has created an illusion with the transition between himself, his son and his father. It is clear, that it goes beyond

a simple flashback, it seems that it is more about a great desire from White himself, about being a child again.

As the essay continues, White is caught by the surprise that there have been some changes made in his illusion. During the trip, White mentions,“Peace and goodness and jollity. The only thing that was wrong now, really, was the sound of the place, an unfamiliar nervous sound of the outboard motors. This was the note that jarred, the one thing that would sometimes break the illusion and set the years moving.”. It is obvious that White is in complete disagreement with changes being made throughout his illusion, such as the outboard motors. Back in White’s time period, inboard motors were being used, therefore, he looks for the negativity in these outboard motors since it doesn't match up with his memory lane. He focuses



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