White's, "Once More To the Lake", the author describes his struggle to come to terms with aging and to stop living in the familiarity of the past. His story serves as a reminder of man's mortality. White's effective use diction and clever symbols help the reader assume the role of the characters in order to heighten the story"s personal appeal.
The author's word choice allows the reader to become enveloped within the essay. One of the ways he accomplishes this by not giving the reader the names of any of the characters or places described. Not once does he mention the name of his father, son, himself or the lake. Furthermore, the author continually uses the pronoun "you" when referring to the characters and their experiences. Phrases such as, "It's annoying how much you can remember- and " you could have it eating out of your hand" create a story that is unique to each reader. The omission of the specific names forces the reader to recall similar memories of their own which increases the essay"s personal appeal.
Many of the symbols in White's essay deal with the past, future, or life in general. For each symbol he gives, he adds another to contrast the meaning of the previous, thus making it easier to understand. For instance, the sea symbolizes the rigors of aging. It is vast and open, seemingly without limits unlike the lake which is peaceful and "tranquil" with visible boundaries, symbolizing the familiarity of the past. Again, this technique is used when the author mentions the motors of then and now. He describes the old motors as being quiet and soothing symbolizing the calm and sedate nature of the past. Yet, he goes on to contrast this with the description of present motors that made an unfamiliar nervous noise that was irritable. Symbolizing his discomfort with the fact he is aging.
White clearly paints a picture, through his symbols, of his longing to return to the past.
Throughout his story White's ideas are effectively related through his use of diction and symbolism.