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Comparative Analysis of E.B. White essays

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No artist is ahead of his time.
He is his time.
It is just that others are behind the time.
( Martha Graham Aspen )

As I have recently read E.B. White’s biography, leading American essayist and literary stylist of his time, White was known for his crisp, graceful and relaxed style. “No one can write a sentence like White,” says the author of White’s biography. White’s stories ranged from satire to children’s fiction. While he often wrote from the perspective of slightly ironic onlooker, he also was a sensitive spokesman for the freedom of the individual. Among his most enduring essays are “Once More to the Lake” and “The Ring of Time”, and further I am going to analyze and compare them.

His first essay “Once More to the Lake” was an essay in which a father struggles to find himself. The essay is about a little boy and his father. They go to a lake where the father had been in his childhood years. The father looks back at those years and tries to relive the moments through his son’s eyes. He knows he can’t, and has difficulty dealing with the fact that he can’t go back in time. E.B. White’s way of letting the reader know that the father is in a way depressed is through great detail and description. The senses, in their own way, can physically bring back memories that seem so real that you can get lost in your own imagination. E. B. White tells in the essay “Once More to the Lake” about how his trip back to a childhood vacation spot not only took him to the lake, but also sent his imagination back in time.

The essay “The Ring of Time” is set in the gloomy winter quarters of a circus; E. B. White appears not yet to have learned the “first piece of advice”. White steps into the ring to signal his intentions, reveal his emotions, and confess his artistic failure. White’s sense of time’s circularity and his illusory identification with the girl are as intense and complete as the ...

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