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Rip Van Winkle – a Review

"Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by the American author Washington Irving published in 1819. The story of Rip Van Winkle is set in the years before and after the American Revolutionary War

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About the author

Washington Irving was born in 1783. He was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". He was the first American writer to earn acclaim in Europe.

Synopsis of the story

Rip Van Winkle’ is a story of an ordinary man who lived an uneventful life with his wife and two kids. One day he sets out hunting in the woods. There he gets asked by a stranger to carry a keg to a nine pin party. During this party he gets drunk and goes off to sleep. When he finally wakes up he has a long white beard and is twenty years older! He had fallen asleep for twenty years!!! He is now old and grey. He returns to the village where he lived, only to find that his wife and friends have all passed away. The climax of the story occurs when the townspeople recognize Rip after he returns to his village. Rip sees his son, Rip II, now a grown man, who looks just like him, and is reunited with his daughter, now a grown woman, who is holding an infant–Rip III. Though change has come to the village, links with the past remain; there is continuity. New generations come along that bring change, but old values and traditions–as well as family lines–remain alive and thriving.At this point in Rip's life, all he wants to do is settle down. He relates his story to every one and becomes the village story teller.

Theme of the Story

The story highlights the fact that change occurs but there is continuity to life and preservation of tradition. The author’s elegant writing style, full of gentle humour and vivid descriptions, continues to enchant modern readers. This engaging book will remain popular for ages to come. Irving’s story suggests that human imagination can give society charming, humorous stories that become part of an enduring, magical folklore.

 

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