First, read the essay “Once More to the Lake” handed out in class. The link above is the annotated version, so you can click on the gray areas and an explanation appears on the right. For example, modern readers might not immediately recognize “Ponds Extract” from the first paragraph. By reading the annotation, we learn that it was used as a cure-all for lots of ailments (the list is kind of funny). Now annotate your own copy of the essay, flagging descriptions you find compelling, words you don’t understand, etc.
As you likely know, literature can often be categorized according to various themes. Common themes include Man vs. Himself, Man vs. Nature, etc. You are going to analyze critically White’s essay based on your theme of choice. You will use both internal evidence from the essay and external evidence from an outside source.
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For the essay, first briefly summarize White’s essay (use pages 33-39 in the NFG for reference). What’s going on here? Begin the summary by naming White’s name and essay title in the first sentence. For the bulk of the writing, analyze your theme, citing evidence from the essay as well as an outside source (some are listed for you on a separate page). Consider this as looking at the essay from a literal and analytical level. Discuss how White wrestles with your theme. For example, what evidence does he offer for the Man vs. Himself theme? Or the Man vs. Technology theme?
While exploring the theme you’ve selected, offer evidence from the essay to support your ideas. So you might say White’s struggle with the outboard motor suggests the theme of Man vs. Technology, and then offer a quote from your source to support your claim. There are no right or wrong answers here. What I really want to see is how you dive into the essay and offer your own interpretation on the various themes.
The last page of the essay must be a Works Cited page listing the outside source you used. We’ll look at examples from the NFG in class.
The final product must be 600 words typed, titled, and double-spaced–not including the WC page.