Rip Van Winkle Essay

Rip Van Winkle

England has Robin Hood and King Arthur, France has Charlemagne and Roland, and Italy has Romulus and Remus, and America has Rip Van Winkle.The thing all of these characters have in common is that they are apart of the myth and folklore of their countries. Rip Van Winkle was set in the past, way back in the Katskill mountains in New York. The times are exciting as the forest has an almost magical feel to it. This is shown when Irving writes "At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have described the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle-roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape."

Something that is vital in making an American mythology is strange and exaggerated characters. Rip is all that and more. He is extremely lazy, so lazy in fact, that he slept for 20 years! His day doesn't consist of much, usually going on a walk and then sitting by the old inn and talking with his friends. Another exaggerated character is Dame Van Winkle, Rips wife. She is extremely intolerant of Rips behavior and is constantly nagging at him to do things. Irving clearly shows Rips manner of behavior when he wrote "Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound."

Rip Van Winkle is a interesting story because of the mysterious, almost magical feel to it. You first get this feeling when the Katskill mountains are being described. "Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold...