An Examination of Rip's Character in Irving's Rip Van Winkle

An Examination of Rip's Character in Irving's Rip Van Winkle

Length: 934 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
An Examination of Rip's Character in Irving's Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving wrote Rip Van Winkle with the American people in mind. At this time society was changing drastically. America was attempting to go through a struggle with forming their own identity. America was wanting to have an identity that would set them free from English culture and rule. Irving uses his main character, Rip Van Winkle, to symbolize America. Rip goes through the same struggles that America was going through at this time before and after the Revolution. Irving uses such great symbolism in this story to describe the changes that American society went through. This story covers a wide variety of time periods including: America before English rule, early American colonies under English rule, and America after the Revolutionary War.

One main issue of the story was one of identity, especially at this time in history. Rip was having difficulty finding himself throughout the story. His wife constantly nagged at him probably all in good reason. His farm was fading away. He was lazy and unproductive. He underwent many emotional changes throughout the story. He didn't appreciate what he had, and before he could even blink it was gone. Life is too short to not appreciate everything in it and enjoy it to the fullest.

In the first paragraph I chose to look at, it leads right into when Rip goes off for a walk to go squirrel shooting. Although the main reason for his walk was to get away for his nagging wife. The story could be interpreted in two different ways. One being that Rip was a lazy bum who did not take responsibility for his wife, children, and farm. He rather go out and drink and hang with his buddies at the tavern. I believe Irving specifically wrote this story for men. The story makes the wife sound like the wretched, nagging, old ugly woman and all she cares about is bothering her husband. This to me sounds all to familiar to what goes on still to this day. I believe the story makes Dame Van Winkle out to be the one in change of the power, but in reality I believe it was Rip.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"An Examination of Rip's Character in Irving's Rip Van Winkle." 25 May 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Confusion and Personal Identity in Rip Van Winkle Essay

-   Rip Van Winkle tells the story of a man who, on a trek into the Kaatskill mountains, mysteriously sleeps away twenty years of his life during the Revolutionary War. When he returns home, he finds that things have dramatically changed; King George no longer has control over the colonies, and many of his friends have either died or left town. At this point, the story reaches its climax, where Van Winkle realizes that his life may be forever changed. To this point, Rip Van Winkle has had only to deal with the change in his surroundings....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Research Papers
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Character Analysis of Dame Van Winkle Essay

- “Rip Van Winkle”, a short story written by Washington Irving, is known for being a tale that illustrates multiple aspects of life before and after the American Revolution. After spending twenty years in the forest asleep, Rip Van Wrinkle returns to his quaint village to find his home transformed into a bustling town. By the end of the story, he has become a local historian; telling the townspeople what the village was like in days before the revolution. The events of “Rip Van Winkle” occurred due to the actions of Rip Van Winkle’s wife: Dame Van Winkle....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle, Short Story, Washington Irving]

Research Papers
1338 words (3.8 pages)

The Life Of Rip Van Winkle Essay

- The Life of Rip Van Winkle In Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, the main character Rip represents the United States. Throughout this entire story Mr. Winkle is having a tremendous amount of trouble struggling to find himself. He left home and came back to the same problems he was dealing with before he left. One of his main reasons for leaving was to get away from his nagging wife. Rip’s biggest problem was that he was very lethargic. While Mr. Winkle was a pleasant man, his laziness affected many areas in his life such as his family, the farm, and also society....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving]

Research Papers
842 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Rip Van Winkle

- "The outline for each story, although based on native history, can be found in legend and myth." Robert M. Meyers, a famous critic, said this about Washington Irving's amazing talent in writing short stories in literature. "Rip Van Winkle" is one of Washington's most famous short stories. Washington does a fantastic job in the story using the themes of martial conflict and American Revolution. Throughout the story, both seem very noticeable. "Rip Van Winkle" covers many literary elements, all of which are very noticeable to the reader....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle]

Research Papers
2536 words (7.2 pages)

Essay on Rip Van Winkle : The Revolutionary Conflict

- Rip Van Winkle: The Revolutionary Conflict Washington Irving’s story Rip Van Winkle is about a man named Rip Van Winkle, who lived in a small town near the Hudson Valley. All of the towns’ people really like Rip Van Winkle because he would assist anyone or anything in need of help. Others see Van Winkle as a kind neighbor, and an obedient henpecked husband. Everyone who knows him is happy with Rip Van Winkle except for his awful wife, Dame, their marriage is a symbol for the American Revolution....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving]

Research Papers
1890 words (5.4 pages)

The Round, Flat, and Stock Characters of Rip Van Winkle Essay

- One particular criterion character effectively supports the central idea in “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving. The character's type develops with the personality development throughout the story. Three types of characters: round, flat, and stock, appear in most stories. The round character displays a fully developed personality and full emotions. Flat characters, also known as supporting characters, do not develop fully or express complex emotions. A stock character, also known as a stereotype, fits an established characterization from real life or literature....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Free Essays
955 words (2.7 pages)

The Message of Rip Van Winkle Essays

- Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, --[It appears Rip has seen an exact mirror-image of himself--the way others have always perceived him]-- as he went up the mountain--[This was the way he was before his "sleep," or journey up the mountain]--: apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged--[Before he encountered the party on the mountain, he was a casual, rough and lazy person]--. The poor fellow was now completely confounded--[It appears to everyone that Rip Jr. was confused in his thoughts, however, just as Rip Sr....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Research Papers
1037 words (3 pages)

Essay about An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle

- An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” an allegorical reading can be seen. The genius of Irving shines through, in not only his representation in the story, but also in his ability to represent both sides of the hot political issues of the day. Because it was written during the revolutionary times, Irving had to cater to a mixed audience of Colonists and Tories. The reader’s political interest, whether British or Colonial, is mutually represented allegorically in “Rip Van Winkle,” depending on who is reading it....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Research Papers
1509 words (4.3 pages)

Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle Essay

- Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle "Rip Van Winkle" has been a well-known story told throughout time. There is not a doubt that as a child, many of you heard the words of Washington Irving's famous tale of the man who slept for twenty years. Nor can one forget the "elves" that Rip Van Winkle spent the night with in the amphitheater. Like many stories, Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" has been told so many times throughout American history that it has lost its original purpose....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays Irving Papers]

Research Papers
841 words (2.4 pages)

Rip Van Winkle and Romanticism Essays

- Rip Van Winkle and Romanticism In the world of literature, there are many types of writing that an author can take to express his ideas. Their topics can be explained through life experiences, biographies, poetry, or other forms of literature. One of the forms that authors use is Romanticism. There are many qualities that define the different viewpoints of Romanticism. Rip Van Winkle, &#8220;Thanatopsis,&#8221; and &#8220;The Cross of Snow&#8221; are all examples of writing from the period of Romanticism....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Free Essays
1453 words (4.2 pages)

Related Searches

If he was so powerless then he would do what she says to do all the time, but he doesn't, instead he ignores it and walks away. At this point in the story, he walks up into the Kaatskill mountains. Once up there he takes in all the beauty that surrounds him. To him this was heaven. Away from everything, including most of all his wife. He describes the river and mountains to be magical, which as we can see later really are. Rip has already made it up the highest point on the mountain by accident, He was trying to find his favorite spot to go hunting. One thing I noticed was the intense descriptions of the American scenery. Irving uses many words such as "magical" to describe the scene. He goes on to describe the Hudson river as "lordly." This to reflect on its magnificent size, especially from his view.

In the next paragraph, Rip describes the other side of the mountain. This he describes as "far down, deep, wild, and lonely." This to me sounds like his interpretation of what his life is now. It describes life in the village where he lives, his home life. At this point Rip was faced with the question of where to go? Should he go back down to the pit of hell or stay up in the glorious, peaceful mountains. This is just one of the many comparisons Irving makes though out the story. Dark is coming and Rip is not looking forwarded to returning to his wife.

In the third paragraph, was when Rip heard the voice calling his name. At this point Rip sees a man and thinks its one of his neighbors so hurries down to help him. Rip seems to have his values out of place. He runs immediately to help a stranger in need, but won't help his own family who needs him most of all. Dame Van Winkle might represent the Puritan's voice. Rip has completely no interest in material gain. He seems to be going against the conventional American life. When he wakes from the sleep this could symbolize his awakening into American awareness. The question is does being high on the Kaatskill mountains have any reason for Rip falling asleep for twenty years? Is there some sort of evil that comes from these mountains that led to his sleeping? Was it to teach Rip a lesson in life? That you should always treasure what you have on this earth especially your family. For they are the ones who love you unconditionally.

After Rip meets this dwarf-like stranger he helps him carry a keg of liquor down the hill, where he shares with him a drink. This is where he falls into a deep sleep. It seems like to me that the dwarf is symbolizing temptation. Rip knows it's late and he needs to get back home but instead is willing rather to help a stranger and engage in some alcoholic beverages. I believe in one way that Rip was a very unhappy man. He felt he had nothing to live for anymore. It sounds like his home life was very distraught whether that be his or her fault. The point being that he was unhappy and needed to be freed from her. I think God must have answered his prayers and gave him a fresh beginning.
Return to