In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” an allegorical reading can be seen. The genius of Irving shines through, in not only his representation in the story, but also in his ability to represent both sides of the hot political issues of the day. Because it was written during the revolutionary times, Irving had to cater to a mixed audience of Colonists and Tories. The reader’s political interest, whether British or Colonial, is mutually represented allegorically in “Rip Van Winkle,” depending on who is reading it. Irving uses Rip, Dame, and his setting to relate these allegorical images on both sides. Irving would achieve success in both England and America, in large part because his political satires had individual allegorical meanings.
Rip Van Winkle is described as a man who “was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound” (46). He was a stubborn man
“Rip Van Winkle” is an American short story by Washington Irving. Published in 1819, it is a quaint essential piece of American Literature. The story is narrated by Deidrich Knickerbocker, a character created by Washington Irving. Knickerbocker tells of the life of old man Rip Van Winkle and how he slept for twenty years among the trees in the Kaatskill mountains and returned one day to a new time, only to find that his home and all his friends had long since passed. In the story, the main character Rip says, “I’m not myself—I’m somebody else—that’s me yonder—no—that’s somebody else, got into my shoes—I was myself last night, but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they’ve changed my gun, and every thing’s changed, and I’m changed, and I can’t tell what’s my name, or who I am!”(Irving 38). Irving’s short story has the traditional elements of romantic literature and of the time. It uses fantasy and adventure elements to draw in readers, as well as excite the imagination. Before Irving, much of the literature consisted of sermons and religious works, whereas Irving began to write fiction. Many things were taking place during this time. America was becoming more settled, independent, and was going through a revolution, which is portrayed in the story. Also, the setting in the short story was full of local folklore. These elements help to create the atmosphere in which this tall tale takes place. Washington Irving details how
At its most basic level Rip Van Winkle is a humorous story of a man who sets off into the mountains to find so much needed peace and quiet, then sleeps for twenty years. Washington Irving uses a combination of satire, imagery, and irony, intertwined with symbolism, to paint an allegorical image of the American Revolution. Irving particularly focuses the tale of Rip on America’s political struggle during the latter half of the eighteenth century while highlighting the role of England as a colonializing society. The use of symbolism helps in creating a vivid mental picture and a physical sensation of the subject without directly referring to the details of the revolution itself. Understanding the symbolism helps in deriving the full meaning of Irving’s writing and the themes it addresses. Ultimately, an analysis of the symbolism will help in understanding the American struggle against England, and how the American Revolution shaped the future of America.
Rip Van Winkle is a citizen of a village by the Catskill Mountains. Rip is an easy-going man who is respected by his village. Rip was so interactive with his community, that making one decision changed his whole life and role in his community for the future, “The children of the village too, would shout with joy whenever he approached” (633). Rip decides to go wander the mountains for amusement with a crew of men, after his wife nagged him. He then unconsciously falls into a deep slumber for 20 years that is infamously known to transform his life. When Rip wakes, he notices a difference in his own life with his kids, wife, dog and gun, along with the architecture in the village. He also notices changes in the social, economic, and political structure of his habitat.
Rip Van Winkle’s positive traits also symbolically represent the ideal of what “New Americans” wanted to be; beloved, free-spirited, and kind. No one has no problem with Rip Van Winkle and his eagerness to do anything for anyone, except his wife. Irving states, “Morning, noon and night, her tongue was incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence” (2). Yes, Rip was extremely caring and helpful but he also came with his own bad traits. Rip was stubborn, very irresponsible, and he lacked ambition. All of these bad traits which happened to get on Dame Van Winkle’s nerves. Rip can never catch a break with Dame Van Winkle. Dame Van Winkle would get angry at him for anything and everything he did, it was a never ending tirade “sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener by constant use” (2). Dame Van Winkle would nag Rip to death over his chores and duties so much that his only refuge would come from running away. Washington uses the character of Dame Van Winkle as a symbol for Royal England and its treatment of the Colonies. Rip Van Winkle's character portrays
“Rip Van Winkle” describes multiple images that make it a story with a deep desire to connect with nature.
Ultimately, Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” takes the form of an allegory, illustrating the atmosphere of the United States following the Revolution. The conjunction of the metaphorical relationship between Rip and his wife, the imagery of the changed town, and the necessity for Rip to adjust to his new liberty, mirror the promise of progress and freedom from the Revolution. Superficially “Rip Van Winkle” represents change, yet just below the surface lies an insight into the revolutionary
Escaping his nagging wife, Rip, travels deep into the forest and pondered the views of “the lordly Hudson, far, far, below him, moving on its silent but majestic course” and “a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, unaware of the life changing events that were about to take place (Irving). He encountered a group of dwarves who had a keg of liquor of which he snuck many fateful drinks until falling into a deep sleep. When he woke up twenty years later having missed the revolutionary war, the deaths of many friends and family, the most prominent of which being his wife. Rip Van Winkle's 20 year disappearance into the wilderness illuminated where his true concerns lay, not in politics or even in the length of his life but the freedom from “the yoke of matrimony” (Irving). The romantic theme of nature and its mystical qualities gave Washington Irving's short story it's thought provoking
She has a lot of contempt for Rip due to his unwillingness to work and carefree lifestyle. Her abusive control over Rip represents King George and the British rule of the colonies. Even though the colonies were mistreated by the King they still stayed faithful and attached to the crown same as Rip stayed by his critical wife. Here the irony lies in Rip’s absence of feeling towards his wife Dame Van Winkle. Even though he was lectured and bossed around by her he still felt content.
Have you ever met someone who was kind, humorous, very likable yet extremely lazy? Well, let me introduce Rip Van Winkle. In my opinion Rip truly “beat to his own drum,” he was a man who much preferred fishing, hunting squirrels and pigeons, visiting his friends at the Inn, reading ghost stories, fly kites, and playing marbles with the children in town instead of working a labor job. Consequently, since Rip refused to help and he was tired of his nagging wife Dame he decided to stroll into the woods of the Catskill Mountains one day with his lazy dog named Wolf where he fell asleep for 20 years, leaving behind his wife to care for everything until she passes away. In conclusion, I think Rip was very lazy, but I really liked he was a kind, good
Rip Van Winkle is set in the past with an interesting setting. Being set in the late eighteenth century in the Catskill Mountains, Irving uses imagery to visualize vivid colors and pictures. Irving describes that the sunsets “will glow and light up like a crown of glory,” which provides a majestic image of the sun (p. 62). It Is also described that the mountains are magical. The mountains are said to change in hues and shape depending on the weather, season, and
The short story, “Rip Van Winkle”, is a tale of a man who went up into the mountains and after a long string of odd events went to sleep. He woke up twenty years later. He went from being use to what the world was like before the Revolutionary War of the United States to how things changed after the war. When he came back from the mountain he found that his wife and friends were gone. His children were grown up and living in this new world that he had stumbled into. He found that changes had been made to clothing and how people acted; buildings that used to be in the town were now gone or changed, and a government that he had no idea about. In this short story the author used the differences between pre-Revolutionary War and
One thing we know about Rip Van Winkle is that this story is inspirited in a story belonging to a Dutch story, taking from the Dutch settlers of American colonies.