The Great Gatsby Life Lesson Essay Free Essay Example
In the E. B. White’s essay “Once more to the Lake”, E. B. would reminisce about the summers he enjoyed with his family as a child. He would muse over how his father would bring him and his siblings to a rented camp on a lake in Maine. The first ten paragraphs would seem like an ordinary narrative on how the author spent his summer vacations. The succeeding paragraphs would reveal that this is the author’s recollection of how his father would teach him and his siblings the proper ‘American way’ of spending summers and how he is dealing with his own children.
(White) “I kept remembering everything, lying in bed in the mornings–the small steamboat that had a long rounded stern like the lip of a Ubangi, and how quietly she ran on the moonlight sails, when the older boys played their mandolins and the girls sang and we ate doughnuts dipped in sugar, and how sweet the music was on the water in the shining night, and what it had felt like to think about girls then.
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“ (White, paragraph 11) In this part of the essay, there is the mention of ‘a Ubangi’. The Ubangi is a small river that flows into a bigger “parent” river.
This reveals the cultural background of the narrator and main character of the essay. It can be noticed that this is probably the only clue in the essay that the narrator gives out with regard to his cultural heritage that now seems to be distant and is just a memory.
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This is short of saying that the only thing that gives an inkling of the narrator’s ethnicity is his physical appearance. Apart from his looks, all his beliefs and values are all-American. Quite noticeable is the difference in E. B. White’s observations and emotions in his recollection of his past and his current experience.
That there is a great difference is understandable given that a person’s opinion on issues varies greatly at different stages in his life. ‘Once more to the lake’ radiates a longing for the time when everything was much simpler and much more peaceful. Towards the end of the essay, the reader will be aware that the narrator has reached a high point in his life where he has arrived at a significant level of success in his life and realizes that everything has trade offs. A simple, yet seemingly less successful life is tantamount to an undemanding work schedule, a trouble-free environment with less noise and less stress.
There is a tinge of longing for a more uncomplicated life, something that he may never be able to go back to as the narrator in the essay reminisces the summers he has had as a young boy. E. B. White talks about the memories of the summers of his youth and makes comparisons of how everything was back then to how everything is now. He talks about spending summers at the lake with his father then and how he feels that he is now a father who is trying to raise his son the way his own father did.
In doing so, he realizes that he is unconsciously inculcating values that espouse the American Dream onto his son. As the narrator finds great pleasure in this vacation, deep inside he realizes that his present enjoyment of this recreation will never be the same as what he had when he was younger. Many things have changed as he aged. He had struggled to pursue his “American dream” and he has somehow prevailed. In a way, E. B. White conveys that although change and progress are good, they bring with them unpleasant elements that will never be shaken off.
(White) The last sentence of the essay says, “As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death. ” (White, paragraph 13) As he watches his son enjoy the vacation, he is suddenly aware that he has gone full circle, as it will soon be time for his son to take care of himself, chase his own “American Dream”, and it will soon be time for him to pass on. No matter how many generations of people would come and go, the American Dream will still live on. Conclusion A person must not forget his roots.
This is part of what makes a person whole and grounded. This issue may seem trivial to most people compared to the quest for financial success and a sense of belonging. If a person is not careful, his familiarity and appreciation of his native culture may vanish along with his fulfillment of his “American Dream”. Most people are ashamed reveal their humble beginnings. A person who is in touch with his past and his ancestry will be in a better position to understand the issues that surround his purpose for pursuing whatever dreams or ambitions he has in life.
While it is important to pursue one’s goals in life, a person should not allow his ambition to consume his entire being. Such a person will be much more capable of a faster recovery from obstacles or falls that he might encounter in the journey of life than someone who denies the reality of his past.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby (Rendered into HTML by Steve Thomas). eBooks@Adelaide, 2007. White, E. B. Once More to the Lake (1941). 1941. 29 November 2007 <http://www. moonstar. com/~acpjr/Blackboard/Common/Essays/OnceLake. html>.
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