Life Post Revolution
Everything and everyone is constantly changing whether people realize it or not. Life after the revolutionary war influenced a lot of the changes that made America. New ideals and customs were beginning to form and people had to learn to conform to these changes in order to survive. Washington Irving depicts this in his writing “Rip Van Winkle”, along with Caroline Stansbury Kirkland’s writing “A New Home-Who’ll Follow”. Although, with some minor differentials, Kirkland and Irving depict similar themes in adaptation and simulating to culture unknown to them.
Many earlier writers had the assumption that the west was filled with savages and the uneducated. Mrs. Clavers herself, shares this stereotypical idea due to the fact she was from an upper-class Boston society. She later encounters some generally nice people on her voyage to the west who were willing to help her and her family in the time of need. Mrs.Clavers and her family found themselves unable to continue their journey west due to a wide ditch, when a stranger asked “in a gentle tone and with a French accent, me watch deer-you want to cross?” (171). At first Mrs. Clavers was frightened by this wild, strange man due to the stories that she had heard beforehand, but he turned out to be nothing but a kind, wild stranger which contradicted popular puritan belief.
Mrs. Clavers found it a bit harder to befriend her neighbors in Michigan. Being from Boston, the Clavers family were used to a specific way of living that opposed that of the western frontier. Not only did Mrs. Cavers have pre made assumptions of westerners, but her neighbors have also believed that because the Clavers family were from eastern civilization that they thought of themselves too...
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...the sad changes in his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world” (38). The town had shifted views and Rip was forced to assimilate to the new culture with the help of his daughter and son whom he found much older.
Change is the only constant in both stories, despite having to deal with different conflicts. Both stories depict several changes from the Puritan era. They both represent a new America, one that is hungry to industrialize and make a profit. Although Kirkland shows the Clavers family moving to a more isolated community, they did this to begin industrialization in the west and to influence their ideas to other places. Irving also demonstrates this when Rip encounters a new world one which replaces all Old Dutch traditions. In order to prosper both characters had to acknowledge the changes and incorporate them to their own lives.
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