Rip Van Winkle Essay

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Michelle Regis Washington Irving is one of the many Romantic writers. He pretends that Diedrich Knickerbocker, a fictional person, is the author of a book he actually wrote. Irving’s short story “Rip Van Winkle” contains a journey away from civilization and responsibility, characteristics of a Romantic hero, and escapism from a dull reality to a supernatural realm. “Rip Van Winkle” is known to be a story about an escape from civilization and responsibility. To avoid any type of profitable labor, Van Winkle would go out, sit on a rock, and fish all day without talking (Irving 156). By finding it impossible to do family duties and keep his farm in order, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm (Irving 156). Although he continuously attempts to escape civilization, Van Winkle also tries to escape his family. Because of his wife’s nagging, Van Winkle is “reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative to escape… was to take a gun in hand and stroll away into the woods” (Irving 157). From his love of nature and avoidance of town life, Van Winkle is considered a Romantic hero. Van Winkle possesses characteristics of a Romantic hero. He is observed as a “simple good-natured man; he was moreover a kind neighbor, and an obedient, henpecked husband” (Irving 155). He also avoids laborious activities by going into the wilderness and fishing all day (Irving 156). Van Winkle’s wilderness experiences place faith in the power of imagination. Irving’s use of imagination is seen throughout the story. In this short story, Irving creates an exotic setting by altering a dull reality into a supernatural realm. One day, Van Winkle goes into the wilderness as a young, hearty man and wakes up to find out that he is drastically older. Over what is thought to be sleeping for one measly day turns out to be twenty years (Irving 159-166). Besides

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