Once More To The Lake And The Ring Of Time

1866 words - 7 pages

In E.B. White’s essays, “Once More to the Lake “and ‘The Ring of Time”, he demonstrates two different interpretations of time and how time is used to symbolize meaning in each piece. “Once More to the Lake” is an essay that is derived mostly from White’s personal experience while “The Ring of Time” is an essay that mostly examines a teenage girl performing at the circus, in the eyes of White. Both these essays give the reader insight of how the author uses the theme of time to show different aspects to the storyline. In White’s essays, he uses similar strategies that reflect on the past and foresee the future, use other individuals as vehicles to access an alternative temporality, and demonstrate his own perceptions and visions in order to explore the reality and different notions of time.
Both stories are similar in a sense that White writes them from a present time setting; however, he explores the notions of time differently since he reflects on his past in “Once More to the Lake” while he foresees the girl’s future in “The Ring of Time.” In “The Ring of Time,” White writes about his being at the circus and spotting “a girl of sixteen or seventeen, politely treading her way through the onlookers who blocked the entrance…the richness of the scene was in its plainness, its natural condition-of horse, of ring, of girl...a ring of ambition, of happiness, of youth” (2-3). However, after a week or two, “all would be changed, all lost: the girl would wear makeup” (White, The Ring of Time 3)and, because of that, he envisions her “twenty-five years ahead, and she was now in the center of the ring…wearing a conical hat and hi-heeled shoes, the image of an older woman, holding the long rein, caught in the treadmill of an afternoon long in the future” (White, The Ring of Time 3). This piece of textual evidence, used by White, shows how the girl is a mere teenager who is portrayed as an older woman because of what she is wearing. He uses this strategy to explore the notion of time by not discussing something that has actually occurred, but simply living in the present and visualizing--foreseeing the future-- all because of what he sees right in front of him. The young girl wearing high-heels and wearing makeup makes her appear as a grown woman; therefore, he visualizes her as a grown woman. By looking into the future, White views time as an interval in which change occurs. Even though, in reality it has not been twenty five years into the future, within just a few weeks, there was a change in the girls’ appearance. The change in her appearance made White get the impression that “it has been so long since he’s been here” or “a lot has changed over the past few weeks”. In “Once More to the Lake,” White’s father rents a camp on a lake in Maine, where “none of them ever thought there was a place in the world like it” (1). He still remembers “returning summer after summer—always on August 1st for one month” (White, Once More to the Lake 1). He...

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