In this essay, White returns many years later to the same lake in Maine he traveled to as a child with his father in 1904. White's essay explores the complex and troubling series of emotions this journey elicits in him.
At the end of the essay, as White watches, his son, who is insisting on swimming in the lake, pulls down an icy cold, soggy set of bathing trunks from the line and winces as he puts them. At this moment, White feels a chill himself in his groin that seems to mirror his son's chill. However, White's own chill is metaphoric, not literal. It represents his realization of his own mortality.
In the essay, White superimposes his own memories of being a boy at the same lake with his own father over his current experiences as now the father of a boy about the same age he was when he first came here. His feelings are extraordinarily bittersweet rather than simply sentimentally nostalgic. This is because White acutely realizes what the passage of time means. His own father is dead,...
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