Comparative Analysis of E.B. White essays

Length: 3 Pages 679 Words

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 thro Continue...

Here, however, the experience is momentary, less whimsical, more fearful from the start. In this fashion, therefore, the essay itself becomes circular, with images recalled and moods recreated. White appears not yet to have learned the "first piece of advice. In particular, he imagines her "in the center of the ring, on foot, wearing a conical hat, thus echoing his descriptions in the first paragraph of the middle-aged woman (whom he presumes is the girl's mother), "caught in the treadmill of an afternoon. White uses bright epithets, periphrases, similes to make colorful associative links with his feelings, and to bring the main idea convincingly to the reader. He knows he can't, and has difficulty dealing with the fact that he can't go back in time. White's sense of time's circularity and his illusory identification with the girl are as intense and complete as the sensation of timelessness and the imagined transposition of father and son that he dramatizes in "Once More to the Lake. And what he creates must exist in the style of his performance as well as in the materials of his act. White steps into the ring to signal his intentions, reveal his emotions, and confess his artistic failure. In the last paragraph, White makes last gallant effort to describe the indescribable: Under the bright lights of the finished show, a performer need only reflect the electric candle power that is directed upon him; but in the dark and dirty old training rings and in the makeshift cages, whatever light is generated, whatever excitement, whatever beauty, must come from original sources from internal fires of professional hunger and delight, from the exuberance and gravity of youth.