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 Romanticism. Irving is sensitive to aspects of the Romanticism, but he is not really a Romantic. He was interested in himself as a famous, intellectual, technically adapted writer. He was very productive, that is why he was able to live from his writing as a professional, and a very wealthy one. Washington Irving was an expert stylist and other writers took him as a model. He was accepted in the USA and also in the England."Rip Van Winkle" sets the terms for what was to come in the following years, especially for male writers. Most of female writers were dedicated to sentimental novels, but white male writers preferred gothic and historical themes. In a point, both themes were joined together: gothic-sentimental. The historical romance is found setting the masculine pattern: there is a masculine hero. In a very rare occasion we find in the 19th century a female protagonist. The exception to this statement is "The Scarlet Letter""Rip Van Winkle" means the beginning of American fiction with a narrative frame, an authorial duplicity and setting the masculine pattern. The pattern for masculine fiction is crystallized or expressed in "Rip Van Winkle" for the first time. It is also a reflection of people who lived in Europe and decided to leave to America, to the unknown land, to the savage side. Male protagonist can get married, the pattern has not always got a woman but the male hero has always a companion. In "Rip Van Winkle" he has his dog with him, named "Wolf", in his strange experience. The substitution of a woman who represent the white society is different that the representation of black women characteristics. Black women represent the dark side of nature. Rip Van Winkle is uncomfortable with women. He is unhappy with his wife, and he decided to live on his own. He does two things at the same time: he escapes from society and from the institution of marriage. He sets the pattern of a solitary and strange experience and that kind of experience is welcome by society, which like those kinds of mysterious-mystical stories. Very often, as in "Rip Van Winkle", the hero comes back to society after a transforming experience and then differences can be seen.The story is very well constructed. It begins with a panoramic view of...

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