Rip Van Winkle Symbolism Essay On Young

Reflection Of American History In Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving expertly reflects American history in his piece of 1819 “Rip Van Winkle.” Unbeknownst to Rip Van Winkle, the colonies are now free of British rule as Irving writes, “Here a general shout burst from the bystanders—‘A Tory! a Tory! a spy! A refugee! hustle him! Away with him’” (Matthews, 2007, para. 36). Rip enters the village armed, ignorant of the fact that he presents the look of a loyalist. The question of being a refugee prevails over accusations of being a Tory, as a colonist refugee would not claim British loyalty which Rip did openly saying “’…And a loyal subject of the king, God bless him’” (Matthews, 2007, para. 35). If Rip had not been justified by one who once knew him, there could have been an inescapable assault. Rip stands exonerated from the accusation of being a spy and questions changes in the village he once knew so well. Irving says, “He recognized on the sign, however, the ruby face of King George…even this was singularly metamorphosed…and underneath was painted in large characters, GENERAL WASHINGTON” (Matthews, 2007, para. 33). Rip becomes confused as he notes the changes in the sign where George Washington replaces King George III. The sign symbolizes and validates the colonists’ freedom from Britain where a monarchy replaces democracy. With the conclusion of the Revolutionary War comes the replacement of King George III’s rule with the presidency of George Washington. As the war comes to a victorious close with freedom to the American colonists Irving writes, “’Oh, she too died but a short time since…’ There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelligence” (Matthews, 2007, para. 54). Simply stated, Rip’s wife passed away, thereby gaining him his freedom. This parallels history in that a monarchy must be extinguished for the colonists to ignite the freedom that a democratic society provides. Irving’s keen writing exemplifies his historical insight in the tale “Rip Van Winkle.”
Strong puritan beliefs are discussed in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s piece of 1835 “Young Goodman Brown.” An important question rises that ignites more questions on the role of God versus the devil in how we live our lives, the choices we make, and our uncertain salvation. Do we look to God or succumb to the temptation of the devil? Hawthorne writes, “’What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow’” (Hawthorne, 2011, para. 9). His uncertain curiosity leads him down a wicked path of which the devil continuously pursues him and he struggles with his own conflicting thoughts, identity, and Faith. Hawthorne historically reflects the Puritans in their relentless struggle to become perfect in the eyes of God. Under the Puritan doctrine it’s common for individuals to live a life of uncertainty, never knowing whether God is pleased. This dilemma is characterized by their daring desire to please themselves and still feel spiritual fulfillment. Goodman Brown expresses his fears as well as his hopes when Hawthorne...

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An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle

1618 words - 6 pages An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” an allegorical reading can be seen. The genius of Irving shines through, in not only his representation in the story, but also in his ability to represent both sides of the hot political issues of the day. Because it was written during the revolutionary times, Irving had to cater to a mixed audience of Colonists and Tories. The reader’s political interest,...

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Washington Irving´s Rip Van Winkle vs. The Revolutionary War

675 words - 3 pages They say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is implying that there is more to something than meets the eye. This is the same case with Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle.” You have to read between the lines of the short story to understand the passion and meaning that Irving has so, intelligently, woven into his story. In the beginning of the story Irving talks of how Dame Van Winkle would basically nag her husband to death. He never...

Compare and Contrast Walter Mitty with Rip Van Winkle

867 words - 3 pages "May Day! May Day! We're going down!" Right before impact you are awaken suddenly by a tapping on your shoulder by your teacher and a class full of laughing peers. It happens to everyone at one point or another. Every high school student has been succumbed to a wild daydreaming adventure. In the short story, "

Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

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Rip's Character and Symbolism in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

"Rip Van Winkle" has been a well-known story told throughout time. There is not a doubt that as a child, many of you heard the words of Washington Irving's famous tale of the man who slept for twenty years. Nor can one forget the "elves" that Rip Van Winkle spent the night with in the amphitheater. Like many stories, Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" has been told so many times throughout American history that it has lost its original purpose. The story is now remembered for its fairy tale like quality and its appeal to the children and the young at heart. However, when given the chance to delve into the depths of what Irving was trying to portray, one may see the…show more content…

Dame Van Winkle was Irving's representation of the country of Great Britain. Her heavy hand represented the power that the British tried to displace onto the American colonies while over sea. The discipline handed out by Dame Van Winkle onto her husband may seem to the onlooker to have made him more carefree to look upon life as something to be lived. The oppression he experienced while at home enables him to go out with a different outlook on life, as it did with the colonist. Irving terms this thirst and knowledge of freedom by saying "to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the disciplines of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation; and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching virtues of patience and long-suffering." In other words, Dame Van Winkle was the oppressive hand that laid the foundation for Rip Van Winkle to experience the pleasures of life once out of the house, as did the people of the colonies once they escaped the rule of the crown.

Rip Van Winkle knew how to make the most out of his freedom and this aura about him led other people to follow

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