Category: White, E.B.

essay canon dispatch no. 6 — “Once More to the Lake” by E.B. White (40’s)

image found here
image found here

So according to the CNF essay canon, this short and sweet piece by the scribe of grade school treasure CHARLOTTE’S WEB is THE essay of the 1940s. The author describes cherished memories of visiting a lake in Maine with his dad, and then later returning with his own son. The blurb on the webpage doesn’t do much to sell it at first, calling it

a nostalgia piece about fathers and sons, often serving as a prompt for a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation essay.

But there is something creepy and sinister working through the text. As i think about it, i cant settle on right model to get at what im feeling. Is it a wholesome on the surface with the skeeviness kept hidden? Or maybe a center-margin sort of thing, that is, while the body of the work is about safety and eternity and the glorious summers of youth, at the margins is encroaching destruction and death.