-Washington Irving describes Dame Van Winkle’s demeanor towards Rip Van Winkle as “a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use”. Most bladed tools like knives are used to cut things, and often need to be resharpened as the blades wear down over time. But Irving states that with common use, sharp language or cursing will not have “to be resharpened” and will eventually be used without thought. Dame Van Winkle is known for her hot temper and berading of Rip anywhere he goes to try to escape from her.
-“He would never even refuse to assist a neighbor in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences… In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country...it was the worst-conditioned farm in the neighborhood.”
Rip Van Winkle seems to be so invested in his neighbors that it severely detracts from his commitment to improving his own farm, but that seems to be his only flaw. Rip Van Winkle isn’t lazy, but he would rather help his neighbors than help himself.
- “The dogs, too, none of which he recognized for his old acquaintances, barked at him as he passed.”
In his pre-blackout days (or pre-revolutionary war days), dogs would never bark at Rip, since his blackout, obviously things have changed in the Catskill Mountains as he has missed the entire duration of the war, and is literally forgotten in time.
Rip Van Winkle, descendant of an army family, lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York with his wife, Dame Van Winkle, and his children. The story is set in pre and post Revolutionary War. He looks out for h...
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... epitomize the American dream, or is he the antithesis of one?
Rip Van Winkle is the antithesis of the American Dream. He has no motivation to work hard at anything in life, and finds that socializing with neighbors is enough in life. He also does not seem to care about the fact that the Patriots won the Revolutionary War. The only thing that he seems to care about is that his nagging wife is dead.
I think that by Washington Irving using a narrator for the story, the reliability of this story is generally up in the air. And the reader has to figure that Rip Van Winkle was truly asleep for twenty years and didn’t just lie to escape his wife. Or that there was even a man who was carrying a keg of liquor up the mountains. By trusting the narrator, it adds a complexity to the story because the reader has to believe everything that they were told.
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