Thursday, September 10, 2009

Essay: "Once More to the Lake." E. B. White. 1941.

Ten-second review: As an adult, the author returns to the Maine lake where he had spent his childhood summers. He is with his children. He feels the years slipping away. Everything is the same as when he was a child. Almost. Outboard motors are an irritant. And as he watches his young son, he has a premonition of his own death.

Quotes: “I began to sustain the illusion that he [his son] was I, and therefore, by simple transposition, that I was my father.” p. 180. ……….

“I seemed to be living a dual existence. I would be in the middle of some simple act, I would be picking up a bait box or laying down a table fork, or I would be saying something, and suddenly it would be not I but my father who was saying the words or making the gesture.” p. 180. ……….

“…saw the dragonfly alight on the tip of my rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of the water. It was the arrival of this fly that convinced me beyond any doubt that everything was as it always had been, that the years were a mirage and that there have been no years. The small waves were the same, chucking the rowboat under the chin as we fished at anchor….” p. 186.

Best American Essays of the Century. Editors: Oates and Atwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000.

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