Reading Quiz on 'Once More to the Lake' by E. B. White

A Multiple-Choice Test

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E.B. White (1899-1985). (New York Times Co./Getty Images)

One of the best-known and most frequently anthologized essays by an American author is "Once More to the Lake" by E. B. White. For the story behind the essay, see E.B. White's Drafts of "Once More to the Lake." 

To test your understanding of White's classic essay, take this multiple-choice reading quiz, and then compare your responses with the answers below.

1. In the present time of E. B. White’s “Once More to the Lake,” the narrator of the essay is accompanied by:
(A) his son
(B) his father and mother
(C) his wife and children
(D) his dog, Fred
(E) no one

2. In the opening paragraph of “Once More to the Lake,” White characterizes himself as which one of the following?
(A) a salt-water man
(B) a deeply religious man
(C) an atheist
(D) a divorced man
(E) an outdoorsy kind of guy

3. What "creepy sensation" does White experience at the lake?
(A) a feeling of being lost
(B) vertigo and distemper
(C) a severe case of poison oak
(D) the sense that he is both his father and his son
(E) the sense that he is being silently observed by an escaped killer

4. In “Once More to the Lake,” despite his claim that there “had been no years," White notices several changes that have occurred since he last visited the lake as a child. Which of the following changes is not mentioned in the essay?
(A) outboard motors instead of one-cylinder inboard motors
(B) a two-track instead of a three-track road to the farmhouse
(C) The waitresses are still fifteen but had washed their hair.


(D) more Coca-Cola in the store and less Moxie and sarsaparilla
(E) The lake has grown polluted, and few people are willing to go swimming in it.

5. In the essay, White refers to "the placidity of a lake in the woods." In this context, placidity is best defined as:
(A) polluted state
(B) eerie appearance
(C) uneventfulness, boredom, or tedium
(D) peacefulness
(E) false or imaginary impression of beauty

6. Which one of the following sentences does not appear in E. B. White’s essay “Once More to the Lake”?
(A) There had been no years.
(B) There had always been three tracks to choose from in choosing which track to walk in; now the choice was narrowed down to two.
(C) There was a choice of pie for dessert, and one was blueberry and one was apple, and the waitresses were the same country girls, there having been no passage of time, only the illusion of it as in a dropped curtain.
(D) Before my father died, he often spoke of taking my boy to the lake, where they might fish for bass and eat doughnuts dipped in chocolate and lie on the wharf listening to the mandolins.
(E) But there was a way of reversing them, if you learned the trick, by cutting the switch and putting it on again on the final dying revolution of the flywheel, so that it would kick back against compression and begin reversing.

7. In the essay, White refers to "the incessant wind that blows across the afternoon." In this context, incessant is best defined as:
(A) uncertain
(B) foreboding
(C) angry, violent
(D) disturbing
(E) continuing without pause or interruption

8. Toward the end of the essay, what breaks out over the lake?
(A) a fireworks display
(B) chicken pox
(C) an escaped serial killer
(D) a thunderstorm
(E) a rainbow

9. In the last paragraph of the essay, one sentence begins, "Languidly, and with no thought of going in, I watched him . . .." In this context, languidly is best defined as:
(A) irritably, peevishly
(B) sluggishly, lacking in energy or vitality
(C) angrily
(D) carefully, attentively
(E) secretively, operating in a hidden manner

10. In the final sentence of “Once More to the Lake,” the narrator feels:
(A) a storm approaching
(B) like dancing
(C) the chill of death
(D) lonely without his wife
(E) the clean hair of the waitress

Answers to the Reading Quiz on "Once More to the Lake" by E. B. White

  1. (A) his son
  2. (A) a salt-water man
  3. (D) the sense that he is both his father and his son
  4. (E) The lake has grown polluted, and few people are willing to go swimming in it.
  5. (D) peacefulness
  6. (D) Before my father died, he often spoke of taking my boy to the lake, where they might fish for bass and eat doughnuts dipped in chocolate and lie on the wharf listening to the mandolins.
  1. (E) continuing without pause or interruption​
  2. (D) a thunderstorm​
  3. (B) sluggishly, lacking in energy or vitality​
  4. (C) the chill of death
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Reading Quiz on 'Once More to the Lake' by E. B. White." ThoughtCo, Apr. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/reading-quiz-on-once-more-to-the-lake-by-e-b-white-1692419. Nordquist, Richard. (2017, April 9). Reading Quiz on 'Once More to the Lake' by E. B. White. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/reading-quiz-on-once-more-to-the-lake-by-e-b-white-1692419 Nordquist, Richard. "Reading Quiz on 'Once More to the Lake' by E. B. White." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/reading-quiz-on-once-more-to-the-lake-by-e-b-white-1692419 (accessed May 28, 2018).