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Washington Irving and His Rip Van Winkle

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“Rip Van Winkle” is a fairytale written by Washington Irving. The story is narrated by Diedrich Knickerbocker who is a comical fictional character in which Irving submitted a lot of his work. Another fictional character created by Irving was named Geoffrey Crayon. The story of “Rip Van Winkle” was published in “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon” and has become very famous. This is a story of a man named Rip Van Winkle, his wife that found fault with everything he did, and his adventures in the Catskills Mountains.

Rip Van Winkle was a peaceful man, loved by his neighbors however he was lazy and was unable to support his family because of this. He could not support his wife or his daughter. He was married to Dame Van Winkle. She was not very happy with him and she would follow him into the town and scream insults at him in front of all the townspeople. Everyone else in their neighborhood adored him, unlike his wife. He would often grow tired of her screaming and yelling at him, so he would often go meet up with his buddies to gather and gossip at a club. He was not able to escape her as she would come to the club and yell at his friends for encouraging his laziness. After the years go by, since his wife had driven all his other friends away, his only friend he had left was a dog, who was terribly abused by his wife also. His only escape was trips to the woods.

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Rip Van Winkle makes a hike into the Catskills Mountains one day, along with his dog, named Wolf, and they wander to the highest point of one of the mountains. This was a long climb and he is very tired and fatigued. The sun is setting and being delirious still from his fatigue, he notices a weird man who wants him to help carry a keg high up the mountain. They run into more men who are bowling and having a good old time. Van Winkle is offered some refreshments from the keg and the refreshments are so delicious that he continues to drink more and more till he passes out drunk.

The next morning, as he wakes up, he is worried about what his wife will have to say since he did not make it home the night before. He grabs his gun and notices that the gun is all rusty and somehow not his. He is also very stiff from laying down for so long however he does not realize that he has slept for twenty years. He notices that his dog is missing also. He realizes that everyone has changed in his village once he returns home. His daughter is grown up and married, his wife is dead, and he slept through the Revolutionary War and it does not seem to phase Van Winkle. He is happier than he has ever been as he was expecting to never hear the end of it from Dame Van Winkle, however, she is not there to berate him any longer and his laziness seems to be socially acceptable since he is twenty years older.

His night is the woods sounds like a great escape fantasy from a life that was barely tolerable due to his wife. Even though he slept through a huge change in history, he could care less, because he is so grateful to be freed from his duties as a husband, and as a supporter.

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