Comparing two similar stories by Washington Irving
Many times in our lives we are compared to our siblings. On many occasions, I am compared to my brother. People say that we have the same physique facial features, and height. Although these traits run in the family, I truly only want to be my own person. Just the other day someone called me “Michael.” The burn from my anger showed on my face. “I am NOT Michael,” I screamed; I am my own person. Just as we see similarities in family members, people also see similarities in stories written by the same author. In “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “Rip Van Winkle” we see similarities in setting, male protagonist, a female antagonist, and a mystic character.
Both of these stories are set in similar areas. Both stories take place in forests. We see Tom walking through a wooded area covered in “gloomy pines and hemlocks.” Similarly, Rip trudges up a mountain “for many a mile of rich woodland.” Both men apparently like the forests as means of escape from their wives. We also see similarities in the fact that both men live near bodies of water. Tom walked for “miles into the interior of the country from Charles Bay.” Also we see Rip looking down into the “Hudson.” These men enjoyed the water areas near where they lived. Washington Irving obviously used these settings in his stories for he was reared in the Hudson Valley area where rivers run free and woods abound everywhere.
Not only do these stories include similar settings, they also include similar male protagonists. Both men seem to be lazy. We know Tom was lazy because he did not take care of his “ miserable horse with ribs that stuck out like a gridiron.” We also know that Rip is lazy because his “estate dwindled away u...
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...im with a good tasting beverage. The drink they gave him the drink caused him to sleep twenty years of his life away. Irving probably chose these mystic character stereotypes to show how the British tricked colonists into providing them with the things they needed in exchange for rum and other idle pleasures.
It is only natural that there be similarities in different stories that an author has written. Even though the stories are different authors draw upon personal experiences in their writings. They used the same character types because they are used to seeing people with those characteristics. Once the reader gains an understanding of the points an author is trying to make in one story it helps the reader predict the meaning in the next. Irving wrote in a time of revolution due to the conflicts surrounding him. Conflict became a central theme in his writings.
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