The Anti-Feminism in Rip Van Winkle

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The Anti-feminism in Rip Van Winkle
In the story Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, the hero experiences an amazing “night” which actually lasted twenty years! All that others have experienced and suffered to Rip is just like a dream. He escapes the Revolutionary War and many changes during the turbulent time, but loses his identity after his return. It’s really difficult to say if Rip is fortunate or unfortunate to have this dream. It is generally considered that what causes the tragedy (or comedy) is Rip’s wife—Dame Van Winkle is always complaining about Rip’s “idleness, carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family”. She regarded Rip’s warm heart as nothing. She even interrupts the talks among Rip and his cronies. Her perpetual nagging and termagant temper afflicts Rip so much that, once it reached Rip’s anger spot, Rip could and would do something to protest her. In the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, Rip has no other alternative but to go out for hunting. Thus he meets the strange man and our story begins… But from my perspective, this interpretation is prejudiced. What leads to Rip’s adventure is more his characteristics than the impact of external factors. First, Rip is a carefree man, who is never caught in “profitable labor”. He helps people not for getting reward, but for getting the pleasure of being needed. People are only aware of his existence when they have something unfinished left—Rip is so lazy that he doesn’t achieve anything which impresses the villagers. Rip only does what he wants to do, but not what he ought to do. Such man is often irresponsible. Leaving his family without concern is not so serious for him as it is for his wife. Second, Rip’s characteristics contain more or less pessimism, even though he looks like “one of those happy mortals”. Every time his wife squabbles for little cases, he merely “shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing”, as if he were managing to avoid...
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