This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Rip's Character And Symbolism In Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

900 words - 4 pages

Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle


"Rip Van Winkle" has been a well-known story told throughout time. There is not a doubt that as a child, many of you heard the words of Washington Irving's famous tale of the man who slept for twenty years. Nor can one forget the "elves" that Rip Van Winkle spent the night with in the amphitheater. Like many stories, Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" has been told so many times throughout American history that it has lost its original purpose. The story is now remembered for its fairy tale like quality and its appeal to the children and the young at heart. However, when given the chance to delve into the depths of what Irving was trying to portray, one may see the symbolism that played a hand in Irving's development of Rip's character throughout the tale.

In writing this tale, Irving compares the character of Van Winkle and his wife to that of Great Britain and the Colonies. Rip Van Winkle was Irving's portrayal of the American colonies. Rip's character was described by Irving as a "simple, good-natured fellow; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient, hen-pecked husband." This description fit the ideal of what American colonist wanted to be. The colonist came over to the colonies to gain freedom from the crown of Great Britain, and in doing so, sought the life full of peaceful things. However, still being under the rule of Great Britain many of the colonists felt that they were still being pecked away by the hand of the crown. Although in a new country, they were expected to follow the rules and the ways of their countrymen over seas. However, by coming to the Colonies, these individuals as portrayed in Rip's character, although descendants of the "gallantly, chivalrous" Great Britains, had only received a "little of the marital character of his ancestors." Therefore, falling into line with what the people of the crown thought of their predecessors in America.

Dame Van Winkle was Irving's representation of the country of Great Britain. Her heavy hand represented the power that the British tried to displace onto the American colonies while over sea. The discipline handed out by Dame Van Winkle onto her husband may seem to the onlooker to have made him more carefree to look upon life as something to be lived. The oppression he experienced while at home enables him to go out with a different...

Find Another Essay On Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving's "Rip van Winkle" : 'The mountain episode'

1085 words - 4 pages Scot who helpfully directed Irvings attention to the wealth of unused literary material in German Folktales. This is where Irving found the source for 'Rip van Winkle'.Before the real story begins, Irving introduces Diedrich Knickebocker; an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from it's primitive settlers.Diedrich Knickebocker was one of Irvings pseudonyms, and

Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving Essay

1143 words - 5 pages portrait of King George, a new portrait of another George, this one named Washington, hangs in its place. The old familiar British flag has been replaced by a strange new flag with an “assemblage of stars and stripes” (Irving p 478). In what seems like at first like a fable, Rip Van Winkle, is actually an allegory of the American Revolution. Irving uses creative symbolism throughout the story to portray America before and after the Revolutionary War

Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

970 words - 4 pages Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving When superficially read, Washington Irving's short story "Rip Van Winkle" seems to be a simple tale of an unhappily married man whose happy-go-lucky, carefree attitude gains him loving adoration from the village women, children, and dogs; but only scorn from his wretched wife. However, when read more closely, the story takes on an entirely different meaning. Through his constant references to Dame Van

Confusion and Personal Identity in Rip Van Winkle

1037 words - 4 pages , as personified in the new Rip Van Winkle, is perceived negatively. In the telling of Rip's previous life, Irving does not hide Rip's laziness and unproductive nature, but the reader is constantly reminded of Rip's kind and gentle qualities. Never do we view his actions negatively, for his poor work habits are overshadowed by his character strength and other amusing qualities. In this selection, however, no effort is made to disguise these

Rip Van Winkle

2570 words - 10 pages singularity of the stranger's appearance was a short, square-built fellow..." (Irving 160). Here, Irving portrays the man as a smaller character. This man lures in Rip Van Winkle by asking him for help. Knowing Rip’s attitude, he went ahead and helped him. All of the descriptions made throughout the short story "Rip Van Winkle" allow Irving's talent for word choice to be shown at its best. Washington Irving covers many literary elements in his

Rip Van WInkle Revision

811 words - 3 pages Quinn O'MalleyProfessor. RippeonRip Van Winkle10/27/14The Husband who couldn't Handle ItIrving's use of literary techniques in Rip Van Winkle brings the story to life as they draw the reader into the plot and allow the reader to begin to fully understand Rip's true nature. This insight into the mind of Rip Van Winkle allows the reader to begin to empathize with Rip's domestic troubles. Only once the reader fully comprehends Rip's mental state

Rip Van Winkle

1059 words - 5 pages "Rip Van Winkle" is undoubtedly Washington Irving's chef-d'œuvre, and this story of a man who falls asleep for twenty years seems to escape the law of time, as it haunts us still with its mystery. Once the reader realizes that Rip sleeps precisely through the American Revolution, the story begins to bristle with cultural overlaps and cultural conflicts occur between what was and what is. Through the vivid picture of Rip Van Winkle, an

Analize a Conflict in "Rip Van Winkle"

628 words - 3 pages One of the main conflicts in the story "Rip Van Winkle" is about Rip falling asleep for 20 years. To escape the verbal abuse of his wife that he had to deal with every day, Rip left to the forest with his dog Wolf. While he was enjoying a calm view at the top of the mountain, a strange man yelled his name over and over. The man reached Rip's location and asked him if he could help him with the bags he carried. Rip helped the man and they headed

Washington Irving´s Rip Van Winkle vs. The Revolutionary War

675 words - 3 pages They say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is implying that there is more to something than meets the eye. This is the same case with Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle.” You have to read between the lines of the short story to understand the passion and meaning that Irving has so, intelligently, woven into his story. In the beginning of the story Irving talks of how Dame Van Winkle would basically nag her husband to death. He never

Compare and Contrast Walter Mitty with Rip Van Winkle

867 words - 3 pages dreams which undertake him spontaneously as he feuds with his nagging wife. In a very similar short story, "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving, the main character Rip Van Winkle slips away from his domestic problems with his wife to a place of serenity where he can sleep in the peace and quiet of the Catskill Mountains. These two stories possess many striking similarities yet there are many differences between them which make them

Reflection of American History in Rip Van Winkle

1568 words - 6 pages Washington Irving expertly reflects American history in his piece of 1819 “Rip Van Winkle.” Unbeknownst to Rip Van Winkle, the colonies are now free of British rule as Irving writes, “Here a general shout burst from the bystanders—‘A Tory! a Tory! a spy! A refugee! hustle him! Away with him’” (Matthews, 2007, para. 36). Rip enters the village armed, ignorant of the fact that he presents the look of a loyalist. The question of being a refugee

Similar Essays

Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" Essay

913 words - 4 pages Washington Irving was an American author, short story writer, essayist, poet, travel book writer, biographer, and columnist. Irving has been called the father of the American short story. He is best known for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", in which the schoolmaster Ichabold Crane meets with a headless horseman, and "Rip Van Winkle. Washington Irving's life is in the beginning of national experience. His life is basically the light of the

Compare And Contrast Irving's Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving's Diction

837 words - 3 pages In his story of the Rip Van Winkle, Irving used his unique style of diction, which also developed a contrast between before and after the climax of the story. The major change of scene in the story takes place after Rip takes his nap in the mountains and there is a noteworthy change of Irving's diction from this point onwards. In his description of the surrounding nature and the weather, a distinct contrast exists between the duration of twenty

Character And Theme In Rip Van Winkle

981 words - 4 pages In Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle," Rip's character is closely correlated with the theme of nature and its prominence over the ever-changing world. The story is set in the Kaatskill Mountains, an important setting with a luminance that does not falter throughout. Similarly, Rip is immediately described as a respectable and well liked man in his mountainous setting. Right off the bat, the two can be easily associated. The magical

Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle Shapes American Culture

1672 words - 7 pages Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle Shapes American Culture "Darkness...lowers upon my mind, and the times are so hard they sicken my soul," says Washington Irving in a letter to a friend (Letters 446). This statement reveals Irving's intense emotional condition, and in many ways indicates the intense social atmosphere as well as his personal conflicts, during the composition of The Sketch Book. Upon the bankruptcy of his family's