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A Commentary On Rip Van Winkle Essay


A Comment on Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle is a short story written by the American author Washington Irving published in 1819.

The story is set in the years immediately before (the early to mid-1770s) and after the American Revolutionary War (the early to mid-1790s). Rip Van Winkle, a villager of Dutch descent, lives in a nice village at the foot of New York's Catskill Mountains. An amiable man whose home and farm suffer from his lazy neglect, he is loved by all but his wife. One autumn day he escapes his nagging wife by wandering up the mountains. After encountering strangely dressed men, rumored to be the ghosts of Henry Hudson's crew, who are playing nine-pins, and after drinking some of their liquor, he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep. He wakes up twenty years later and returns to his village. He finds out that his wife is dead and his close friends have died in a war or gone somewhere else. An old local recognizes him, however, and Rip's now grown daughter eventually puts him up.

In this famous work of Irving, the authors characters can be sensed though the article:

First, Irving was absolutely a conservative man. He preferred the past much to the future. This could be seen from the shape comparison between the life before and after the twenty years sounding sleep. Before Mr. Rip went into the mysterious mountain, although he was in the charge of his horrible wife, the life of him was funny or somehow colorful. However, when he came back twenty years later, everything had changed, nobody knew him, his house was deserted, his wife had died, his children disappeared, and even his favorite village inn had gone. From this description, I know Irving held the view that the life present or in the past was perfect, while the life in the future was unknowable, always depressing, so the best way to live happily was not to make any change and live exactly the way in which our ancestors lived.

Second, Irving was a man who lived in the irony tower. He could only see the things that he would like to see. He was willing to see peoples normal daily life, so he presented Rips life for us. But when the American Revolution came, which threw the peaceful world he fascinated for into a burning hell full of dropping blood and miserable screaming, he chose to be drunk and fell into asleep. Hed rather continued his life in the dream than witnessed the war with a broken heart. Finally the war ended, the bombing and the screaming couldnt be heard any more, and he came back and resumed his life.

The last and the least, Irving was a hen-pecked man, because no one could describe a horrible wife so vividly unless he himself has experienced. Nevertheless, many wise men had horrible wives, either Kong Ming in china or Plato aboard. This made them more man than coward.

Text, such as its person. Every author is more or less betrayed by his work, whether it is conscious or unconscious. MR. Irving created MR. Rip, and MR. Rip presented MR. Irving.

Reference: Wiki Encyclopedia (

A course on American literature (our textbook)

A guide to selected readings in English and American literature (41.687.1938)

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