Washington Irving’s tale of Rip Van Winkle is about a person, a nation who seeks to be free. The life of a town before and after “liberty” is also shown in Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle is a depiction of the American society as viewed by England at the time, with
Liberty in Rip Van Winkle is also a key factor, as Rip tries to find it, and eventually does by moving away from the village. The character of Rip Van Winkle can be seen to have many different meanings, but ultimately he is a representation of America itself, and the journey it took to find its own identity.
In “Rip Van Winkle,” England is represented by Rip’s wife, Dame Van Winkle. She is orderly and productive, and everything she says or does generates a torrent of household eloquence.” (128) The villagers stand for the American society in general and how it changed after becoming a free country.
Rip is the symbol of those who want to resist change and remain loyal to the past. He falls asleep for twenty years and wakes up to find that everything has changed, including the government and society itself.
Rip Van Winkle embodies the sentiment of attachment to Britain that many Americans felt after the Revolutionary War. Washington Irving uses Rip’s character to poke fun at the American people’s obsession with and reverence for Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle is a loyal, likeable man who is content with his life, but he is also lazy and ignorant.
Rip Van Winkle had different relationships with individuals, society, and nature. Rip was very well-liked by his fellow townspeople as he always did favors for them and was always willing to help out. “He would never even refuse to assist a neighbor in the roughest toil” (126) Children also loved Rip because he would always gladly play with them, “The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached.” (126)
Rip’s wife, on the other hand, would always be nagging him and Rip was not the best husband because he would go off into the woods to escape her. “Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions” (126) which allowed him to put up with his wife’s behavior.
Rip also had a very special connection with nature. He often went into the woods by himself and would talk to the animals and feel at peace. “In fact, Rip himself was half inclined to think that he had been metamorphosed into a bear” (127). However, when Rip fell asleep for twenty years, everything changed.
When Rip woke up from his long sleep, he found that all his friends from the village had passed away and that his wife was no longer alive. Rip also noticed how the village had changed and it made him feel like a stranger in his own home. “The very character of the people seemed changed” (128).
Rip did not recognize anyone except for his daughter, who was now grown up with children of her own. Rip felt out of place in the new village and decided to leave and go back to the woods where he felt most comfortable. Rip Van Winkle is a character who represents change and how time can affect relationships.
Not only did Rip have a close bond with nature, but he also found solace in it. He would often go out to the mountains on hunts for squirrels with his dog or spend hours fishing. Even if he didn’t catch anything, he never complained and simply enjoyed the scenery around him. For Rip Van Winkle and his dog Wolf, nature was their home away from Dame Van Winkle’s nagging.
Furthermore, Rip Van Winkle was a very mellow and content individual as he was often seen taking naps under the shade of trees or inside his home. Rip’s contentment is also evident when Irving writes, “In fact Rip was a perfect picture of happiness.” (127) Dame Van Winkle on the other hand, was an antithesis to Rip in terms of personality as she was always yelling, scolding and nagging her husband. She would often badger Rip about his idleness and lack of productivity around the house.
Dame Van Winkle represents the change that has come over Rip’s once peaceful village as it slowly starts to become more populated with rowdy, drunken men. These rowdy men were often the target of Rip’s hunting trips as he would take them out to the mountains to teach them a lesson. Rip’s hunting trips were often successful as he would return with plenty of game for dinner.
Rip Van Winkle is a character from the short story “Rip Van Winkle” written by Washington Irving. Rip is a man who lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York during the late 1700s. He is married to Dame Van Winkle and has two children, Rip Jr. and Maggie. Rip is known for being a lazy person as he often sleeps through the day and doesn’t do much work around his house.
However, he is also known for being a kind and good-natured person who is always willing to help others. Rip’s character embodies the ideal of the American Dream as he is a man who is content with living a simple life away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Rip Van Winkle is a character who loves nature and enjoys spending his time outdoors. He is also a character who is content with living a simple life and doesn’t desire material possessions or wealth. Rip Van Winkle is an example of the ideal American citizen as he embodies the values of independence, self-sufficiency, and hard work.
Ambition is one of Rip Van Winkle’s least obvious personality traits. Ambition is the desire to achieve success. Irving wrote, “The major flaw in Rip Van Winkle’s writing was an unshakable distaste for all kinds of profitable labor,” on page 63 of Rip Van Winkle. We can see that Rip doesn’t like hard work. Rip isn’t concerned about not making money if he doesn’t work.
Rip would rather drink at the tavern than work on his farm. Rip is content with very little. Irving describes Rip as, “As he was not very fond of labor…he turned out a sturdy boy” (Irving 63). This means that Rip was born lazy and it just became worse as he got older. Not working hard has become Rip’s lifestyle. Rip is also described as a, “simple-hearted farmer” (Irving 63). Simple-hearted can be defined as having or showing a lack of guile or cunning; artless.
Rip doesn’t have any type of devious plan. Rip is an honest man that doesn’t take part in mischief. Mischief is playfulness or wild behavior that causes trouble or damage. Rip would rather go fishing than play pranks on his neighbors. Rip is the type of person that would never think to cause any type of harm.
Rip’s most prominent character trait is his laziness. Rip is described as a, “lazy old fellow” (Irving 63). Lazy can be defined as unwilling to work or use energy; indolent. Rip doesn’t like to do anything that requires effort. For example, he would rather sit under a tree and take a nap than go work in his fields. Rip is also very forgetful.