Rip Van Winkle

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RipVan Winkle

Thereare different types of writingthat a writer can take to express his or her ideas in the world ofliterature. The story wasfoundin the papers of Diedrich Knickerbocker from New York,and he was interested in the customs, culture and histories of theDutch who settled in the U.S.

Thestory issetin a verysmalland old village at the bottom of Catskill Mountains. Rip lived inthat smallvillage when U.S was a Great Britain colony. is apeaceful man even though he descended from gallant soldiers,and he is also known for being gentle and kind.

RipVan Winkle is a man who slept for twenty years instead of himconfronting his problems and woke up in another generation. Accordingto the story, the man is incapable of doing anything that can helphis family financially (Tymieniecka145).He islovedby other people in the villageand most of them sided with him against his wife who berated him.

Ripwent into the forest to escape the nagging of his wife who shoutedinsults athim constantly.The man left his family behind without any consideration after hefailsto play his roles in the family as a father and a breadwinner. Inthis paper, we shall analyze the story of and theRomanticism.

RipVan Winkle and Romanticism

Inthis story, the author useslife experiences, poetry, biographies among other literature forms topass across the intended message. In Rap Van Winkle story there aredifferent forms usedby the author to express romanticism. Also, manyqualities candefine various romanticism viewpoints.

Thanatopsis,the crossof snow are writings for the romanticism period. The story is about alazy man who had a family,but he refused to work whether at home orat work to support the family. The man was said to be useless on hisfarm the property and land werefalling into pieces. As a result of his laziness, his wife constantlyberated him asking him to help withhouse chores.

Onecan argue that Rip escaped from home to spend time in the town due tohis dread for labor and his wife`s nagging. Rip Van spent a lot oftime with his village friends talking instead of him working on hisfarm. His wife used to track Rip down even in his peer’s securitythewife scolds all the men who were with her husband for not being withtheir families.

Inthis story, the wife is the antagonist she is berating someone whoeveryone in the village adores. The writer only shows us the badside of her, except the comment made that she kept her house in orderafter her death. Thus, the wife can be described as henpecking andnagging while the husband can bedescribedas a deadbeat.From the story, men should learn to be more industrious to supporttheir families while women need tounderstandtheir husbands not to put them in a situation that pushes them away.Repeated scolding becomes unbearable to all human beings, menincluded. Hence one can easily walk away from the relationship.

Ripseems to be ignorantsince he met with a stranger and followed him into the forest becausehe carried something that resembled keg liquor. The night spent byRip in the woodsis asymbolicway of storytelling and the fantasy of escaping through imagination.Once he becomesfree from his duties, he becomes a storyteller in the town. Ripdreaded his duties, which didn’t please him like attending thefarm. Thispresenteda way of dealing with less pleasing dutiesin our lives.

AfterRip slept for twenty hours and woke up a confused man, everything hadchanged.When Rip returns to the town he uses an excuse of his wife’s angeras the reason as to why he left. The main reason why he went back totown is to find out how long he had been awaybecause heforgot during the time he slept (Tacine25).

WhenRip gets near his house,his head begins to throb and pound. He had drunk alcohol the nightbefore, which was the cause of the headache. After he had arrived,his heart began to break. His best dog had growled,and his house hadstarted to decay,and his children and wife were nowhere to befound.At this time, Rip was freed of all is duties due to his age and noone expected him to work.

Whenhe went to town,Rip noticed that things had changednothing wasas before,but he didn’t care. The time he slept isdefinedas American history. Since Rip was asleep duringthis period,he represents the American anti-hero group who didn’t take part inbuilding the country. Rip VanWinkle only cares about his oppressor, whom he believes he overcame.

Rip’schildren were wild and ragged as if no one was responsible for them.Rip did not have an option he went to live with his daughtertogether with her family. Since a lot of time had passed, Rip wasforced to adjust according to the changes he met so as to fit in thesociety (Tymieniecka145).He was also freed from his duties since he had grown old.

Theperiod now referred to as Romanticism period in America is when the story waswritten.Thestory wassetjust before the revolutionary war began, which took place in 1775before Washington was born. When Rip returned to the town after 20years, democratic and federalist parties were emerging. Thiscanbeseenwhere Rip walks back to town and he isaskedwhether he is a Democrator a Federalist, and which side he would vote. At this time classsystems and political parties counted in public.

TwoRomanticism elements in the story

Thefirst Romanticism element is where lyricsof Irving`s describe Kaatskill Mountain.Thestory states that they are possessive of magical shapes and hues.When the weather is settled and fair, they are clothed in purple andblue while clear evening sky prints their bold outlines and thelandscape is cloudless. In summer they will gather a gray vapor, andthe last ray will light up and glow like a crown of glory.

Thebeautiful nature is offering an opportunity to encounter romanticismin a special way through escaping the town’s conventions. Natureoffersa sensation which transcends mundane that is spiritual since theperson andnatureare in a communion. In this story, is a Romantic representative. He escapes goingto Kaatskill Mountains.

Anotherkey Romantic element in the story is the author`s nostalgia (Matthew120).Rip’s wife,on the other hand, has a disputatious tone and prefigures thebustling of the new world which he returns after twenty years. At thefinal scene when Rip is out of place due to confusion,Irving brings about the revolutionaryscene.Irving expresses a Romantic nostalgia for the natural beauty of thevillages and calmsearlier times (Nixon2).

Thestory is not the first to be written by Washington Irving in aromantic way. The story has three major elements that enableit to beclassifiedas romantic. First is the story’s reliance on nature, use of theprinciple of individualism and use of supernatural elements.

RipVan Winkle contains several supernatural elements such as Ripfollowing a strangeman because the man had some liquor. Ripfollows a Dutchman where he finds a group of small Dutchmen playingbowling the ninepins. Ripserves himself and the menwith the drink with no one speaking. The sound produced by the pinswas like thunder.

Also,the story celebrates the individual’s value. Rip does what hewishes, but unfortunately, he does nothing. As a result, his wifenags him constantly. Rip ignores his wife and doesas he wishes. Everyonein the town loved Ripdespite his nagging wife. Rip was loved by the children because heassisted them with sportsthings like shooting marbles, told the ghost stories and assistedthem to fly kites. Rip was loved even by the neighbor’s dogs sinceno dog would bark athim whenever he passed by.

Also,the story is about an individual freedom where Rip wishes to be freeso that he can converse with the neighbors and spent time hunting andfishing for his family. Rip hates to work on their farm. He thinkshis luck is infishingand hunting, but not onthe farm. Asa result,his wife nagshim asking him to go and work on their farm or help with thehousework.

Hiswife used to look for him everywhere in the town shouting insults,and no one could have stopped her even Rip’s friends. At the endof the story,the wife is dead,and Rip canenjoy life as he wished.

Besides,nature played a very critical role in the story, when Rip fallsasleep for twenty years in acleanforest. After Rip wakes up,he findsthat all the things that happened in his life are gone or dead, suchas his wife. Rip wakes up in another world since everything that heleft before he fell asleep was far gone. Ripknew only his little daughter when he woke up from sleep,and all other people were strangers in his life.


Ripgoes to the forest in an attempt to free himself from his wife’snagging. His individualism is what makes him changehis life and adventure. The nature element is veryimportantin story.

Allthe supernatural events happened in the forest. The supernatural arealways connectedto nature in a Romantic way. The first Romantic characteristic in thestory is where Rip decided to leave his town which was chaotic, to apeaceful place inthe mountains.

Inthe forest, Rip findshimself telling children ghost and witch stories. He finds a newcompany in these children,as they enjoy his stories. He also finds himself in the foot ofKaatskill Mountain. All these events illustrate supernaturalcharacteristics in the story.

Lastly,after Rip woke up,he did not know how long he had slept. Afterward,he realizes that everything that he had beengoing through was a dream. He even found himself telling childrenstories,but no one knows who he is. Thisillustratesthe Washington Irving’s Romantic natures on .


Nixon,Kathy. &quotOurCommon Pedagogical Dilemma: Designing Literary Essay Assignments NotEasily Bought or «Found.»&quot&nbspJournalof Language and Cultural Education&nbsp2(2014): 2.

Tacine,Houria.&nbspLiteraryThemes and Motifs in the Hudson River School Paintings: AnIntertextual Study.Diss. University of Tizi–Ouzou, 2015. 23-39

Tymieniecka,A. T. &quotand allow Irving a way to distance authorial voice.&quotIn The Sketch Book,“RipVan Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” areonly.&quot&nbspTheElemental Passion for Place in the Ontopoiesis of Life: Passions oftheSoul in the Imaginatio Creatrix&nbsp44(2013): 145.

Vernon,Matthew. &quotSubversive Nostalgia, or Captain America at theMuseum.&quot The Journal of Popular Culture 49.1 (2016): 116-135.

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