“The Rake”

Mamet describes several scenes from his childhood in this essay, only one of which involves a rake. Why, then, does he entitle the piece “The Rake”?

It was a pivotal moment in the story, and it kindof shows the relationship between the brother and sister. It shows that even though they may fight and it result in something such as a face wound from a rake, they would never sell each other out to their parents because in the end the adults are the enemy. This also shows the lack of security they feel with their parents. They would rather suck up any sort of issue then try to find comfort in their mom or dad.

What is the tone of Mamet’s essay? How does it compare to the tone of E.B. White’s essay?

Mamet’s essay is rather choppy and quickly written. It was a sad story with a lot of emotion even though the emotion wasn’t written into the story. It’s a fast paced story even though it uses a rich writing style. White’s essay is rather monotonous and mundane. One would think they’d be more similar in style, however the pace differs.

“Once More To The Lake”

  1. How does E.B. White’s style differ from Raymond Carver’s? Do you think E.B. White could have written the same story in Carver’s minimalist style? Why or why not?

E.B. White uses a lot of detail in his writing. Especially when he is compared to Raymond Carver’s minimalist style. The story would have been a lot shorter if it was written in Carver’s style. White is able to stretch a moment with descriptions analogies, and is able to make the reader feel like they are in the story. Carver does a good job at making the reader feel like he’s watching a seen from afar.

  1. What does E.B. White’s description of his summer vacation tell us about the perfect family?

He went on family vacations, which shows the close relationship among his family members. These memories must be fond, because he looks back on them and wishes to revisit this time. The perfect family is depicted as a close bond with many fond memories and good times. This description of his summers exemplify the perfect family personae.

Work Cited

White, E. B. “Once More To The Lake.” The Writer’s Presence. Eds. Donald McQuade and Robert  Atwan. 4th Ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/ST. Martin’s,  2003. 270-275. Print.

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

In depicting the character of Connie, Oates writes, “everything about her had two sides to it: one for home and one for anywhere that was not home . . .” What are Connie’s two sides? How do they compare to one another?

Connie acts a more innocent at home. She tries to seem good around her mother even though she doesn’t like the way she’s always nagging her. Her sister is mature and the idealistic child, connie isn’t nor does she want to be like her sister. Outside of her house she’s more of a party girl. She sneaks around, hangs out with people her parent’s are aware of, does her own thing – lives without rules.

What kind of commentary on family life does this story make?

Connie’s dad isn’t a very family oriented guy while her mother often nags on in a disapproving manner. They expect her to live up to her older sister, the ideal child. She’s organized and mature, and Connie doesn’t wish to be like her. She hates her family, and wishes to be rid of them. She seeks a different life, breaks the family’s mold, and acts much differently away from home. They have an overall dysfunctional family life.

“The Bath”

Carver is known for his “minimalist” style, a style that presents only the essentials of a story in simple, straight-forward prose. How does this style affect the overall feel of the piece?

The writing is stark. It seems as if the author just wrote the story from start to finish without any connections between the beginning and the end. There seems to be no overall concept. It was an eerie story with no apparent warmth.  Something I noticed was that the author did not name the characters. Whether he did it because it wasn’t “essential”, or felt that it would bring you too close to the characters and lose the more observant point of view, it got confusing when you had to keep track of 3 different people referred to as ‘man’. This style of writing is interesting but not something that I enjoy reading.

How does “The Bath” characterize the modern American family?

The family in the story is similar to the idealistic family with a mother, father, and two-point-five kids. They have a son and a dog, and once something terrible happens to the young boy the family is concerned and do everything they can to ensure safety and comfort. They only take a break in order to take care of the dog (and apparently take a bath?). The planning of the birthday party earlier in the story also shows the style of the family.

Work Cited

Carter, Raymond. “The Bath.” The Writer’s Presence. Eds. Donald McQuade and Robert  Atwan. 4th Ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/ST. Martin’s,  2003. 919-925. Print.



Noun: feelings of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected

“Familiar retailers may take some of the discovery out of travel – to the consternation of journalists looking for obvious local color – but by holding some of the commercial background constant, chains make it easier to discern the real differences that define a place” (Postrel 807-808).

I was traveling by subway when I finally reached my destination, but to my consternation – I was on the complete opposite side of town.


Adjective: present, appearing, or found everywhere

“Before it became a ubiquitous part of urban life, Starbucks was, in most American cities, a radically new idea” (Postrel 808).

Living in new orleans, one is constantly surrounded by the deceased; graveyards are a ubiquitous backdrop of city life.


Noun: a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place

“Chains let people in a city of 250,000 enjoy retail amenities once available only in a huge metropolitan center” (Postrel 808).

In New York, Charmin, the toilet paper company, set up a facility dedicated to public restrooms because many places in the city were lacking this amenity.


Adjective: (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor

“To his frustration, he finds that many cities actually turn away national chains, preferring a moribund downtown that seems authentically local” (Postrel 809).

The dance committee was trying to put together a more traditional ball; they did without flashy lights and vibrant decorations, which ultimately led to a moribund event.

Works Cited

Postrel, Virginia. “In Praise of Chain Stores.” The Writer’s Presence. Eds. Donald McQuade and Robert  Atwan. 4th Ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/ST. Martin’s,  2003. 806-809. Print.

Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, LLC. Web. 25 Jan. 2011. <http://dictionary.reference.com/>.

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