Forster describes the character of individuals about what they own. Forster bought a piece of wood with a check he received after getting returns from the sale of a book he had written. The wood did not have much monetary value, but it was Forster’s first piece of property, he must have valued it too much regardless.
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Owning this wood made Forster feel heavy, meaning that in addition to his simple life, he had added something to add to his misery and thoughts: property. He gives a literal example of the rich man described in the Bible; this man is loaded with all his wealth such that a camel can easily pass through the eye of a needle compared with this rich man (Forster para 2).
Possession of wealth creates a feeling of stoutness, and as a result, rich men are so full of themselves, and they will always stick out in front. Unfortunately, the Bible does not correlate stoutness and achievement because the rich man, compared with a camel, cannot pass through the eye of a needle due to his heaviness.
Realistically, this heaviness is due to the misconceptions, by the rich, of what is important to them. Rich men value their properties more than anything else. The Bible, seconded by Tolstoy, uses heaviness to figuratively refer to sin.
Rich people are never satisfied with what they have, and they will always think that they need to generate more wealth. Forster notices a bird in his wood, and when it goes to the neighbor’s field, he wishes to have Mrs. Henessy’s property. Forster describes some of the thoughts that run through his mind to get Mrs. Hennesy’s property because he does not have the money to purchase it.
This shows the lengths that people will go to expand their wealth. Forster aims at extending the boundaries of his wood, and to round it off, Mrs. Hennesy’s land is an ideal pursuit. This is similar to Ahab’s desire to round off his property by getting the poor man’s vineyard. What people are not aware of is that they justify their wicked behavior using noble thoughts.
Possession of property triggers desires that were not initially there. Just by owning a mere wood, Forster thinks of how he can own the universe, and he shows that people will come up with all sorts of ideas on how to get more wealth without thinking of the consequences as long as they get what they want.
Forster indicates the misunderstandings that can result from wealth. When the bird lands on his wood, he deceives himself by claiming ownership is it, when it moves to Mrs. Hennesy’s field, he supposes that by owning this field, he would also own the bird. But, he fails to realize that the desire to be rich clouds one’s judgment and he only learns this when the bird leaves Mrs. Hennesey’s field and flies away.
When a person owns a piece of property, he or she is always preoccupied with thoughts of making it better. Individuals try to be creative in the guise moneymaking and beauty, yet according to Forster, creativity is a form of expression that stems from an inability to enjoy one’s property (Forster para 4). The desire to own property comes from the determination to run away from starvation, and for self-development.
Earthly life revolves around material things; hence, individuals are bent on having a property that they don’t wish to lose. They will go to the extents of separating it from the public while enhancing their accessibility. Forster spans the high stone walls that he has put up to prevent the public from setting foot into his property as he is selfish.
Just like Forster, who seems not to get enough of his piece of wood, White cannot get enough of his experiences at the lake in Maine. He has clung to the past, which lingers on in his mind, and which keeps bringing him back to the lake. This had begun as a mere summer camp, but it turned out to be a lifetime action.
The difference, however, is that unlike Forster that has full ownership rights to the piece of wood, White enjoyed the benefits of a property owned by another person. White, in his early childhood days and his current days as a family man, seeks peace and inner satisfaction from spending time at this lake.
The lake is the only place where he can feel and smell nature. Here, he reminisces his childhood days through the actions of his son. White enjoys the fact that the world he knew in his childhood days has not changed at all (White 1-5).
White represents the ideology of not owning land. The camp in the lake is merely rented to supplement the life of the busy and noisy city. Renting the camp grants White the partial rights to own the property for an agreed period, but this does not change White’s perception of the lakeside. He does not deem it an indispensable commodity that cannot be enjoyed by others. The lakeside gives White the tranquility that he cannot experience in the city.
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The fact that the lakeside has retained its original form in almost every meaning of the word shows that the people’s goal is to blend well with nature without distorting its balance. White learned of this campsite from his father, and he is now passing on this nice experience to his son (White 1-5).
In comparison to Forster’s piece of wood, experiences at the camp are shared, and there is no restriction. Clearly, one’s actions are mainly defined by his or her perceptions and understandings about the environment and society in which he or she lives.
The lake is everything that White’s residential place is not, and renting the property by the lake was did not change his perceptions about it. White views nature from a different standpoint to Forster’s; while he appreciates nature and the serenity of the place, Forster view of his wood is in terms of monetary value.
White shares his memories with his son, and the fact that nothing has changed at the campsite since his childhood days helps to understand the perceptions of people residing around the lake.
The people coming for vacations at the Lake in Maine and those owning the farmhouses are all governed by thoughts of sharing the resources available to make life more comfortable. No one has the desire to own what he or she has already rented, or what is rented by another person. The essence of the campsite is merely to spend time off from the pollution and the buzz of city life.
The two articles show the different characters of two people based on two approaches to ownership of property. Forster owns his piece of wood, and his perceptions and thoughts that define his character are different from Whites, who also have some ownership rights by the fact that he has rented some property.
Whereas Forster seems uneasy and is not able to enjoy what he has because he is busy guarding its borders, White enjoys his camp without any restrictions and does not mind the presence of other families enjoying the peace and beauty of the lake.
Forster’s, Edward Morgan. “My Wood.” About.com, 2014. Web. 3 April 2014. <http://grammar.about.com/od/classicessays/a/fortermywood08_2.htm >.
White, Elwyn Brooks. “Once More to the Lake.” Freewebs.com, n. d. Web. 3 April 2014. <http://www.freewebs.com/lanzbom/EBWhiteLakeEssay.pdf>.