Rip Van Winkle

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Abstract

I am looking at the possible meaning of “Rip Van Winkle” and why Washington Irving may have written it. What was the purpose of this story?

Rip Van Winkle

I believe that Washington Irving’s purpose for writing “Rip Van Winkle” was to show a progression of aging and how easy it can be for the elderly to become disconnected with an advancing world. Rip Van Winkle starts off by leading a rather laid back life. He does basically what he wants to do, as long as he is away from his home, and helping other with jobs that they needed done. His life is simple, but his own, until he gets within earshot of his wife. The Dame Van Winkle is the true ruler of the roost. She was always after Rip to do more for them and their needs instead of doing jobs for others. The dog, Wolf, did not even have a chance around her. I believe this is done to show that there was a more laid back lifestyle and as time progresses, life becomes more and more fast paced and hectic. I think that even when Irving wrote this story there was a change in lifestyles just as we have seen a change. Look back in our own lifetime and there have been a world of changes. Can you remember when everything was closed on Sunday? It does not take long for society to change and I believe that this is a good symbol of this. When we get to the part of Rip going up on the mountain and helping the man carry the barrel, we start to see a disconnection with everything around him. He falls asleep and has wakened to find that everything has changed around him. The town is evidently busier, the people have changed, and life has progressed past anything he can imagine. It takes him a while to see that they are no longer under the rule of England and that they are their own country. Rip was completely lost when a gentleman asked him if he was “a Federal or a Democrat (Irving, 2009)” and “which side he voted for (Irving, 2009)”. Rips answer was “I am a poor quiet man, a native of the...
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