Lake, Is an Oddity, a Term Paper

Total Length: 1254 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

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..."(White, p. 106). This goes beyond religion into metaphysics, but he brings it back to a more understandable realm, the realm of the church service arguably, by noting that those 'same' waitresses had begun washing their hair frequently, in imitation of things they had seen in the movies.

By the end of the page, White has returned to the mystical, building an implied comparison to the entirety of Christianity to an almost musical crescendo: "Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible the fade proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end...." (White, p. 106).

On the following page, White is immersed in memories of earlier times, times that bear a resemblance, in his retelling, of the early Christian ideas of community, everyone joyously committed to a single purpose, taking pleasure in seeing others of like mind, conducting the various rituals through which they were bound together. In a church, that might be singing, or 'witnessing' or participating in the celebration of the breaking of the bread, the reminiscence of the Last Supper. At the lake, the ritual involves some eating, of course, but it involves fishing on the lake, a familiar metaphor in Christian thought to be sure. It involved conducting the parts of the ritual, from motoring boats to docking them, some of those tasks requiring the skilled hands of a 'priest' of the water.

Participation in the ritual, and the ways of the ritual, were passed down from generation to generation, admitting of some changes in implements, from inboards to noisy outboards. But some tings remained, such as getting soda pop up one's nose, watching turtles launch themselves into their world in the lazy sunlight. Still, toward the end of White's description of his visit to the 'holy well' of his youth, White is enmeshed in the illusion that he might be himself and also his son.

Finally, White paints a baptismal scene; his son is about to be fully initiated in the ways of the lake by swimming in the lake with the other children lodging there.
He mentions "the children screaming with delight at the new sensation...." (White, p. 109). And he describes his son, pulling on wet trunks that made him wince from the wet sogginess of the garment.

For the entire essay thus far, White has built steadily the idea that this adventure is an opportunity for communion with nature, with man, with god. He has built steadily the image of himself as eternal, as his own father, as his own son. But at the last, he shatters the image, dashing his own hopes, and by extension, those of his entire constructed world on the cold, clammy rocks of unbelief. Watching his son deal with the discomfort of his garment, his 'baptismal' outfit if you will, White writes: "As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death" (White, p. 109).

I thought cannot get more final, more hopeless, more existential than that. The chill gripped the seat of White's future, everyone's future, the place where humanity is made, at least in the physical sense.

White, at the end, realizes he is not his father, not his son, that he is himself, and that self is mortal, and getting old, and it murders the images of salvation he has built so handily until then. It truncates the possibility of resurrection; it casts the richly woven tone poem into the void without another word.

Works Cited

The only work cited was a version of E.B. White's "Once More to the….....

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