Rip Van Winkle Essay

844 Words 4 Pages
Freedom brings happiness. This is a major message shown in the story Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle is about a man who slept through the American Revolution for twenty years. During those twenty years he slept, his village and the whole country underwent a major change that affected the future of America. Written during the early 1800s when American literature was heavily influenced by the Europeans, Washington Irving portrays America's search for an identity through one of the first true American literature, Rip Van Winkle, using elements and characteristics of the literary era of American Romanticism.

Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 to wealthy parents as the youngest of eleven. His older brothers influenced Irving's taste
…show more content…
Usually, the main character or hero of some literatures are already well-known and are of high status. One of the characteristics of American Romanticism is the common man as the main character or hero. The common man is an everyday person; he's not special or someone well-known. This characteristic is demonstrated in Rip Van Winkle. "I have observed that he was a simple good-natured; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient henpecked husband." Rip Van Winkle is just a common village man. He does not come from a reputable family, nor does he have a high position such as governed. He is simply a kind man who obeys his wife and enjoys helping his neighbors. Another prevalent characteristic of American Romanticism is the main character's tendency to seek refuge in nature. They turn to nature when they are facing problems or feeling inferior. "Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative, to escape from the labor of the farm and clamor of his wife, was to take gun in hand and stroll away into the woods." Here poor Rip Van Winkle is in distress from being constantly nagged by his wife, Dame Van Winkle. The only place he can get away from her and have peace is in the woods of the Kaatskill mountains. Nonconformity is another trait that American Romantic works tend to possess. "Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him; but there was one species of despotism under which he had long

Related Documents