Comparison of Once More to the Lake and The Grave
Authors often use details that evoke a response in readers to produce an effective description. Their aim is not simply to tell readers what something looks like but to show them. Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Grave” and E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake” are essays that use subjective language to illustrate the principles of effective description. Porter’s “The Grave” describes a childish afternoon of rabbit hunting that brings death close enough to be seen and understood, while White’s “Once More tot he Lake” is a classic essay of persona; reminiscence in which he recreates the lakeside camp he visited with his son.
Miranda’s brother Paul stripped the skin away from the dead animal the “flayed flesh emerged dark
scarlet, sleek, firm.” He slit thin flesh from the center of the ribs to the flanks, and a scarlet bag”
appeared. He slit the bag open to find a bundle of baby rabbits, each wrapped in a “scarlet thin
veil.” Paul pulled them off to reveal their true appearance: “dark grey, their wet down lying in
minute even ripples, like a baby’s head just washed, their unbelievably small delicate ears folded
close, their little blind faces almost featureless.” Not only does Porter give vivid, specific details
she also uses a simile to compare the baby rabbits “wet down” to the freshly washed head of a
human baby. She uses this to find similarities between the two to provide a fresh view of both.
Readers also notice precise detail and vivid language from E.B. White’s essay “Once More
tot he Lake.” The area around the lake is described in specific detail: the cottages “sprinkled
around the shores.” It was a “fairly large and undisturbed lake.” White creates a dominant
impression of the lake as “infinitely remote” and “primeval.”
White continues to describe summertime as a “pattern of life indelible.” He goes...