What Is the Purpose of "Once More to the Lake"?

The purpose of E.B. White's 1941 essay, "Once More to the Lake," is to illustrate the way in which White's trip back to his childhood vacation spot with his son evokes powerful sensory memories: these memories make him acutely aware of his own mortality. White layers past memories on top of present-day experiences in order to emphasize the cyclical nature of human existence.