Rip Van Winkle vs RIP Awake
April 1, 2014
Comparing and Contrasting the Two Stories of Rip Van Winkle.
The story of Rip Van Winkle was written in 1819 by Washington Irving. It was the first American short story. Robert Coover wrote Rip Awake 153 years later. It is his version of the continuing story of the man named Rip Van Winkle. Although both these stories have obvious similarities there are also many differences. These differences include the setting of the story, the character of Rip himself, and the mood of the story.
Rip Van Winkle was written as a short story. This is one of the many differences between Rip Van Winkle and Rip Awake. Coover’s version of Rip Awake was written as a play. The format in which a literary piece is written can drastically alter the way the audience perceives the work. If a piece is presented dramatically, all the audience knows is what they see and hear. They have no way of knowing a character’s thoughts. Alternatively, if the audience reads a piece of work for themselves, they do not have the benefit of dramatic inflection. Each of these forms of presentation are intriguing and unique. However, they both have there personal benefits as well as there downfalls.
Another difference in the structure of Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Coover’s Rip Awake is the point of view in which it is expressed. Rip Awake is written as a first person narrative. The narrator of Coover’s piece is Rip Van Winkle himself. The literary piece was meant as a monologue and being able to hear the story completely from Rip Van Winkle gives the audience a deeper understanding of him as a character. On the contrary, Rip Van Winkle is written as a third person narrative with the narrator being Diedrich Knickerbocker. Diedrich Knickerbocker was Washington Irving’s pen name. Because the story was written in third person we do not always have to focus on Rip Van Winkle. We can observe the other characters because the narrator is reliable
Cited: Baym, Nina, Wayne Franklin, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. "Rip Van Winkle." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2007. 953-64. Print. Coover, Robert. "Rip Awake." A Theological Position: Plays. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1972. 101-19. Print.