Analyzing Rip Van Winkle

6 June 2016

In a selection, an author uses certain characteristics to depict the outcome of a story. In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” Irving incorporates exaggerated characters, magical events and their consequences, and places the setting in past times to create an American mythology. With these characteristics, Irving impacts the entire story and how the ending resolves. In the story, Irving uses mainly Rip Van Winkle and Dame Van Winkle to show exaggeration in the characters.

The townspeople see Rip Van Winkle as a whole-hearted fellow who loves helping everyone with their needs while in contrast Dame Van Winkle sees Rip as a man who is lazy and never does the work he is supposed to do. Throughout the story, Dame constantly nags on Rip and he is seen as just shrugging his shoulders and walking away. Due to this behavior, it helps the magical event become more believable to the reader. When his laziness is exaggerated by Dame, him sleeping for twenty years is more plausible than if his laziness wasn’t portrayed in the story.

Analyzing Rip Van Winkle Essay Example

Magical events and their consequences also interpret the feeling of an American mythology. Irving uses this characteristic when Rip suddenly comes across a strange place with strange items which he consumes. After consuming a strange drink, Rip falls asleep and doesn’t wake up for another twenty years. During those twenty years, a war has come and left leaving the nation in a completely different atmosphere then when he left. Most of his friends and family have gone or changed in some particular way. Lastly, Irving uses setting to create an American mythology.

He places the setting sixty years before his time immediately making it in the past. Also, the story has time that passes by causing the reader to infer something dramatically has changed within that time. With this, fiction and non-fiction come together helping to construct a myth. When composing all these characteristics, it creates an American mythology. If only one of these characteristics were used, the story’s meaning would change drastically. Irving uses exquisite details in his characters, events, and setting that represents an American myth.

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