Rip Van Winkle 1
RIP VAN WINKLE 1
Rip Van Winkle Paper
ENG 242/ASB 861
Mr. Russ Hughes
November 18, 2008
Rip Van Winkle 2
Rip Van Winkle Paper
To many people, the story of Rip Van Winkle may be considered nothing but a mere children’s story meant to entertain. However, the story is much more than that. I believe that the Washington Irving’s purpose in writing Rip Van Winkle was to critique America’s escape from tyranny.
The story Rip Van Winkle takes place in eastern New York near the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. The story ranges from a time prior to the American Revolution to several years after the war has ended. The physical locale of the story plays an important role in the story as they lend continuity. Although politics have changed the landmarks are the same. “There stood the Kaatskill mountains-there ran the silver Hudson at a distance-there was every hill and dale precisely as it had always been” (p. 132).
The tone of the story is very sympathetic toward Rip Van Winkle. Rip was described as “a simple good natured man; he was moreover a kind neighbour, and an obedient, henpecked husband” (p. 125).
His wife, on the other hand, is described as one of those “shrews at home…[who creates a] fiery furnace of domestic tribulation” (p. 125).
Therefore, from the beginning of the story, the reader feels sympathy for Rip and hopes that he will be able to escape his nagging wife. By the end of the story, the reader’s hopes are fulfilled as Dame Van Winkle has died.
The Essay on Goodman Brown Rip Story Roderick
... fragments of the House of Usher" (777). Washington Irving's story "Rip Van Winkle" is about a simple village man that lives his life ... of Usher," and Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle. "Young Goodman Brown", by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story of a man named Goodman ... would shout with joy whenever he approached" (621). Rip Van Winkle's wife Dame Van Winkle unfortunately nagged him to do a bunch of ...
The theme of an escape from tyranny is conveyed in the story most obviously as Rip’s escape from the tyranny of his wife and more symbolically as America’s escape from the tyranny of England. When he returns from his nap and finds that his wife has
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died, he experiences “a drop of comfort” (p. 135).
He realizes that he had been living under a “petticoat government” and thought “happily that was at an end-he had got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and out whenever he pleased without dreading the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle” (pp. 136-137).
On a more symbolic level is the author’s critique of America’s escape from the tyranny of England. Prior to Rip’s nap, the author describes a sign outside of the local inn with a “rubicund portrait of his Majesty George the Third” (p. 127).
Upon returning home after his nap, he discovers a flag of stars and stripes and that the portrait of King George III “was singularly metamorphosed. The red coat was changed for one of blue and buff; a sword was held in the hand instead of a scepter, the head was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was printed in large characters GENERAL WASHINGTON” (p. 133).
In other words, he seems to point out that there was less difference in who was in the picture than what they were wearing. In addition, Rip feels that “the very character of the people seemed changed” (p. 133).
Unlike before his nap, people were now discussing politics, and Rip learns that one of his old friends was killed in battle and one became a general and then a congressman. Despite all of the changes around him, Rip soon returns to his old ways. “He took his place once more on the bench at the inn door and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village and a chronicle of the old times ‘before the war’” (p. 136).
Overall, Rip does not notice a difference in being a loyal subject of the king versus being a free man as “the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him” (p. 136).
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Rip Van Winkle could be compared to Walter Mitty in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Both characters suffer from marital distress and find ways to escape from their lives. In Mitty’s case, his wife is domineering and nagging. It is often her nagging that awakes him from his daydreams. She seems somewhat condescending to him based on their conversation about the overshoes. She says “‘we’ve been all through that…you’re not a young man any longer’” (p. 206).
The Essay on Compare and Contrast Walter Mitty with Rip Van Winkle
... Mitty is more of a dreamer and oddball, and uses his dreams to escape from his troubles and worries of the day. Rip Van Winkle ... by Washington Irving, the main character Rip Van Winkle slips away from his domestic problems with his wife to a place of serenity where ... strong connection can be made from the wife of Rip to the wife of Walter Mitty. Mitty’s wife is obviously a control freq who always ...
However, both Rip and Mitty probably deserve the way their wives treat them. In the case of Rip, he is described to have “an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour” and “was ready to attend to anybody’s business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible. In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm” (p. 126).
Mitty is a man who seems to suffer from a separation from reality. His wife makes this clear when she comments that “it’s one of your days. I wish you’d let Dr. Renshaw look you over” (p. 206).
So, in both cases, while the men seem to be hen-pecked, their wives are probably at a loss for other ways to deal with them.
Rip and Mitty are also escapists. Rip “would carry a fowling piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through the woods and swamps and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons” (p. 126), all in an effort to escape from the responsibilities of his life. Mitty, on the other hand, would imagine himself the hero of his own daydreams. These daydreams served to help him escape from the failures of his actual life.
In conclusion, while the story of Rip Van Winkle may seem to be an entertaining story about a lazy man who was nagged often by his wife, Washington Irving intended
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there to be a deeper meaning behind Rip’s predicament. Irving believed that there was little difference made as a result of the American Revolution. Perhaps at the time that he wrote his story, the changes caused by the war were less noticeable; however, looking back from two hundred years in the future, it is evident that the Revolution had a profound impact not only on the lives of people living in America, but on the entire global community. It is hard to imagine what the world would be like if America were still under English rule. Perhaps if Irving were still alive, he would revamp his story. It would be interesting to read this new version.
The Essay on Rip Van Irving Stories Place
Both of the stories by Washington Irving are fictitious tales written in the mid 1800's. The author, Washington Irving, was an influential author. He invented narrators, who were both comical and fictional, to explain his stories. His work was based on German folk tales, and he added an American twist to the age-old tales. The first thing that strikes me after reading both of these stories is that ...
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Balty, D. (2008).
The Pearson Custom Library of American Literature. Pearson Custom