Analysis of Rip Van Winkle as an Example of American Mythology

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

When talking about American mythology, there are quite a few characteristics that are shared by many mythological stories and fanciful literary works. Some of these characteristics say they are set in the past and are often times set in exciting places, are filled with remarkable and exaggerated characters, feature mystical, and mysterious happenings, and lastly they convey a positive message about a nation and its people. One of the first stories American Mythology often lead back to Washington Irving. He wrote the literary work, ‘Rip Van Winkle”. The story “Rip Van Winkle” is a great example of American Mythology because of the remarkable characters, the incredible and unbelievable events that occur, and the fact that it gives hope and presents positive messages about America through the long journey Rip takes in the story.

The first characteristic I’ve chosen of American mythology is the setting which is in the past and often times set in exciting places in the story. The story is set in the Kaatskill mountains (also known as the Catskill mountains). They are a segmented branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen westward of the river, and very tall considering the surrounding country. Rip Van Winkle is a farmer who goes off into the Kaatskill Mountains, where he soon finds a small group of dwarfs playing a game. When they offer him a drink of liquor, Rip accepts their offer and promptly falls asleep.

The second American mythology characteristic I chose is the featuring of mystical and mysterious happenings. Washington Irving includes many mysterious, magical characters, and events in his writing. It tells the story of a man named Rip Van Winkle, a man who casts off into the deep woodland of slumber for twenty years. He returns to find only that where he’d once lived and all who were his friends had long gone. He grows as a person in the story to find that his careless actions have had great consequences upon his life.

The greatest and final characteristic I’ve decided to write about is the remarkable characters, the incredible and unbelievable events. The very fact that it gives so much hope and presents such a positive message about America through the long journey Rip takes in the story, physically and symbolically, makes it a great example of American mythology. A character named Deidrich Knickerbocker is the narrator of the story. Rip Van Winkle himself is quite a character, however when it comes to the extraordinary happenings of the story, you couldn’t deny it if you tried. Rip falls asleep for twenty years for crying out loud!

So when you’re talking about American mythology, there are many characteristics that are shared by mythological and fanciful stories. Some of these characteristics say they are set in the past and are often times set in places quite exciting, they are filled with remarkably exaggerated characters, feature mystical, mysterious happenings, and lastly convey a positive message about a nation and its diverse population of people. Washington Irving wrote the literary work, ‘Rip Van Winkle” published in 1819. The story “Rip Van Winkle” is a great example of American Mythology and I hope to do an essay like this again soon.

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