Rip Van Winkle

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Rip Van Winkle Essay

Rip Van Winkle is the story of a middle aged man that goes to sleep for twenty years. Although the purpose of this story was to be a short and entertaining comedy, when analyzed it reveals a deeper meaning through its theme. Before we start to look at the theme, we should first define some of the characterization on the book. Rip Van Winkle was “a simple, good natured man” and this “gained him such universal popularity.” From these quotes we can assume that Rip was a very happy man with many friends. “He would never even refuse to assist a neighbor in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences. The women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them; in a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody’s business but his own.” Some may take this quote as an indication of Rip being lazy, but it is quite the contrary. “Certain it is that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles” This shows that Rip’s personality is doing more good than harm. In fact, the whole theory suggesting that Rip’s is a slacker is flawed. As stated before, Rip is ‘universally popular’ on top of this, he does favors for other people such as helping them with their bags and even babysitting their children. Although he did not directly do any profitable labor, he helped so many people that they did end up returning the favor (as stated in the quote). Also mentioned is that “he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; everything about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray or get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields

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