Summary of "Once More to the Lake" by E.B. White

E.B. White wrote “Once More to the Lake” in 1941 as a reflective piece on the power of memory and the chill of mortality. Recounting a visit he takes with his son, White recalls how so many of the details he now experiences with his son are the same as those he experienced with his father a generation ago. In fact, he often mentions he cannot at times distinguish the memory from the current experience. Later, White suggests that in particular, the combination of summertime, lake cabins, and family get-togethers describes “Americans at play” and this represents much that is good, peaceful, and joyful in our lives. Yet, by the essay’s conclusion, after bringing his readers back to the present, White remembers that time has indeed marched on, and he—like his father—will soon die and he—like his father—will become just another memory.

Adirondack Lake, New York