Rip Van Winkle

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Freedom brings happiness. This is a major message shown in the story Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle is about a man who slept through the American Revolution for twenty years. During those twenty years he slept, his village and the whole country underwent a major change that affected the future of America. Written during the early 1800s when American literature was heavily influenced by the Europeans, Washington Irving portrays America's search for an identity through one of the first true American literature, Rip Van Winkle, using elements and characteristics of the literary era of American Romanticism.

Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 to wealthy parents as the youngest of eleven. His older brothers influenced Irving's taste in literature. One brother that indirectly led Washington Irving to success was named Peter. In 1815, Peter sent Irving to Liverpool to try to save their family business there which was on the verge of bankruptcy. He failed to save it, and the business became bankrupt in 1818. Irving chose to remain in Europe after this incident and decided to make a living as an author. As he traveled Irving recorded his thoughts, observations, and thoughts in a tiny journal. He later turned these entries into short stories and compiled them into a collection in which he called The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon. This collection contained short stories based off of European folk tales but in American settings, as well as essays. Included in the collection is Rip Van Winkle, which was based off of the German folktale, Peter Klaus. The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon became a success and was well-received by Europe, in which during the collection's publication, 1819, did not respect American literature and even thought there was no such thing. The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon became an important milestone in American literature history, and proved that American literature could be independent of European literature.

Rip Van Winkle is...
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