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Identity In Rip Van Winkle

Decent Essays
Identity is what defines people. It is every aspect of life that range from culture to religious beliefs, friends and family, every of it makes a piece of an individual’s personal identity. In fact, it is completely normal for people to feel lost while searching for their identity. Washington Irving, America’s first writer, is best known by his famous short storyRip Van Winkle” which emphasizes in the struggle of finding a new identity after the American Revolution because of the characters that appear, the symbolism, and the setting where the story is placed.
The first reason about why “Rip Van Winkle” is about the struggle finding an identity is because of the characters that appear. Rip Van Winkle, the protagonist in the short story, is
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Before the American Revolution, people used to have determined beliefs, traditions and government, but after the war, society was confused. For example, the website saylor.org stated, “Politically, the American Revolution carried significant and historic consequences … established a republican form of government out of what had been a monarchical and colonial political system. It altered the position of American people from being subjects of the British crown to citizens and political participants of a republic” (How Revolutionary Was The American Revolution?). Now, people had more freedom and the ability to express their thoughts on what they wanted for their country. As a result, people was struggling to leave old habits. The symbolism in this quote emphasizes how America had to adapt: “Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon grew into great favor” (Irving, 1014). This quote is of great importance because it shows the reader that Rip Van Winkle himself represents the old country. Since all the news about the revolution and his family happened so fast to him, he does not know how to deal with them. For this reason, he kept his “old habits”, while at the same time, he adapted to his environment. Given these points, “Rip Van Winkle” can be analyzed as a story about the struggle for identity because of the
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