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Romantic Writing Essay

1965 words - 8 pages

What it takes to write Romantically
Romanticism, to the unknowing mind, symbolizes a writing style centered on romance. But, Romanticism portrays itself as much more than passion or relationships. Romanticism illustrates the fruit of the free-thinking mind, a mind that dreams of escaping civilization to return humankind’s origin; the bosom of Nature. Romanticism represents the immaculate child within who believes in freedom for all people, who is an avid enthusiast for spectral phenomena. All of the above themes are essential to Romantic writers, including Washington Irving. As one of the most famous Romantic writers of the early 19th century, Washington Irving joins Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne in the ranks of popular Romantic writers. Irving’s work contributed to the body of literature that becomes classified as American folklore. One of his most well-known narratives goes by the name of “Rip Van Winkle.” In “Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving displays his Romantic tendency by letting the following characteristics emerge in the pages of the story: the natural dignity of the common man, an interest in the supernatural, and the domination of spontaneity, individual feelings together with Nature over reason, logic, planning, and cultivation.
To begin with, the short story “Rip Van Winkle” casts an air of dignity about one of the main characters, Rip. Irving initially presents him as dignified or of high value through Rip’s attributes of probity, servility, as well as the “child-like” aura that Rip has. Irving presents Rip as distinguished, even though his wife almost constantly demeans and nags him about all of his failures (If I had a husband like Rip, I would just divorce him. That would save my vocal chords from having to scream all the time). This aspect of decency becomes clear when Irving discusses how Rip appears as innocent, humble, and also child-like. Rip’s innocence appears in the way that he presents himself in the family arguments that Dame Van Winkle controls. His aloof response of shrugging, shaking his head, and looking up occur in almost every squabble to try to stop the never-ending hen-pecking from his wife. Rip acts this way because he “is a gentle soul, a child of nature who wants to be left in peace.” (Ozersky) This desire for peace results in Rip leaving his home to attend to “anybody’s business but his own” (Irving) as well as going off to hunt or fish with his dog Wolf. His humility comes into play when he offers to do chores for the women in the village, such as wall building, odd jobs, or errand-running. The story never once mentions Rip bragging about acting generously for the community. This truth is supported by the evidence that Rip Van Winkle “would never refuse to assist a neighbor in even the roughest toil” (Irving 2). The author also characterizes Rip as meek-mannered and good-natured in disposition, both of which back him up as being an unpretentious man. As a final example of common-man’s...

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