Rip Van Winkle and Romanticism Essay

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Romanticist Washington Irving compiled and published a series of essays called The Sketch Book in the early to mid nineteenth century. One essay (or sketch), known as "Rip Van Winkle", was very successful and further supported the Romanticist movement. In this sketch Irving recounts the story of Rip Van Winkle as told by a peculiar Diedrich Knickerbocker, native of New York. The short tale tells of a middle-aged man known as Rip Van Winkle living in a Dutch village in the pre-revolutionized America. Rip was a lazy man who helped others but never did his own work. He is described as a man who "was ready to attend to any body's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, it was impossible" (Irving 938). Van Winkle had a staunch wife whom he dreaded and two unkempt children. His farm was slowly wasting away and his dog Wolf was his only "domestic adherent". Rip would go to the town's inn and sit with his friends and discuss past issues in old newspapers. He was an overall laid-back man and "If left to himself, he would have whistled life away, in perfect contentment" (Irving 939). The one thing keeping him from doing so, letting his life drift away, was his wife constantly complaining about his idleness and laziness. One day, Rip Van Winkle went out hunting to get away from his wife and labours of the farm. He walked along to the Kaatskill mountains with Wolf where he heard his named called repeatedly. He finally found the source of the calling, a stout man carrying a keg. Rip went to the man and silently helped him carry it into the mountains to a group of people. He fearfully served them flagons and then drank much of it himself until he fell into a deep sleep. When he woke up, he realized his dog was gone and he was back in the place where he first saw the stout man. He walked back into town and

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