The True Meaning Of Rip Van Winkle

843 words - 4 pages

The True Meaning of Rip Van Winkle
In order for a prosperous future to occur, the present must be secure and the past must not be forgotten. Much can be said though, about the advance of mankind throughout the ages, with complete disregard to the woes and struggles of the past. Furthermore, while it would appear that the brawls of the present are almost always shaped to lend perception of a greater future, history dictates that this is not always true. In this vein, the story of America is not that much different than other epics from our past. From great reason, our ancestors sought significant change. Change brought about revolution both in the literal and intrinsic sense, and soon ...view middle of the document...

Rip soon finds himself escaping the treachery of work and obligation through a hunting trip lead astray. Fashioned by alcohol and a band of would be strangers, Rip soon passes out for a period Irving described as twenty years. Upon, Rip’s sudden awakening, his world appears upside down. Finding his town, family, indeed his whole identity in this strange yet familiar place to be awkward and full of fallacy, the story ends with Rip taking “his place once more on the bench at the inn door, and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, “ and resuming “his old walks and habits” (Perkins, 206).
Ultimately however, the story and its historical context were likely not intended as just mere American fiction. As Sarah Wyman of State University of New York describes, “Rip’s narrative becomes an instrument of self-knowledge and social cohesion for a nation abruptly split from its past history and identity” (217). At the time that Irving wrote this tale, America was fresh from two freedom seeking wars. In a land where industry, civil rights, economic difficulties and politics were all matters of great debate, America was struggling to find their own way. Furthermore, radical transformations in the country’s identity only sharpened the divide between the past and the future direction of the country. While Rip escaped the tyranny of his wife and social duties, he awoke to a new set of consequences that had not...

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