July 24, 2013
The 21st Century Rip Van Winkle
“Washington Irving is born in 1783, the year that the American Revolution has formally ended after the Treaty of Paris. Irving does not give any information about the Revolution itself. His hero has slept during that historical period”. (Iliyan Kirov) When reading Irving’s story Rip Van Winkle there are two interesting facts to keep in mind about Irving, first he was born after the Revolution War and had not lived under the rule of the British, and had grown up as an American. Second he gives no details of the Revolution War because poor Rip sleeps though it, yet there is another reason for this, he is attempting to show his generation the different between living as British colonist and free Americans. Since he is writing to a generation that did not know what it was like to live under the control of others, is the reason that could account for Irving style of writing, in which he uses his characters as part of the setting and also his settings as characters.
Up to this point in American Literary there have only been biographies, personal letters, history, or a story that has been passed on by word of mouth for long time frame. The only thing that we have not seen has been American tradition, or a sense that the nation has an identity of it own or of its people. (Jordan) This is the way that Irving begins his short story, “It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!), and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, with lattice windows, gable fronts surmounted with weathercocks, and built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland”.( Irving ) He makes it a point to show the roots of the village as if no one would read the story if it did not have...
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