The Epitome of the 21st Century American Family

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The common theme underlying both works is the passage of time and the changes that it brings in the family, even while some elements of it remain the same. In EB White’s work, the lake is the symbol of the family; it is the common link around which the family is built, while…


The visit to the lake is an annual family ritual and in White’s comparison of his visit as a child as compared to visiting it with his son, he illustrates how the family tradition continues, with many of the same elements recurring. For instance, as a child, he used to “dress softly as not to wake the others and sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the Canoe” (White 198) and he finds his son doing the same thing, hearing “the boy sneak quietly out and go off along the shore in a boat.” (White 198). The lake culture is a representation of the family culture, especially when a thunderstorm occurs and the campers run out to swim in the rain, their “bright cries perpetuating the deathless joke about how they were getting simply drenched …..and the joke about getting drenched linking the generations in a strong, indestructible chain.” (White, 202).
White thus views the family as a continuing unit, he views himself repeatedly in his own father’s role as he walks and goes fishing with his son, and he reflects upon his son will one day take over his own role at the lake, becoming the father who bring his son for a visit to the lake. White represents the family and its bonds through the symbol of the annual visit to the lake. There are common practices that occur through the years, for instance the camper with the soap at the lake side, or the fly that settles on the fishing rod, or the practice of getting drenched in the rain. These symbolize the enduring nature of the family, some things will never change.
The author also uses the lake as the background against which he examines the changes that are being brought about by technology. For instance, families drive up to the lake in their cars rather than in their wagons and the unpacking is completed in a matter of minutes without the fuss that would ...
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