Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving Summary and Analyse


Dear students, today i am going to discuss about rip van winkle by Washington Irving Summary and Analyse. Washington Irving was born in 1783. He was enriched the American literature through different types of writings and he was a true man of letter. He was a great writer of short stories. Rip Van Winkle is his masterpiece. It is well known story all over the world. Through the story Irving has depicted the political condition of the colonial people before the liberation war and after the liberation war.

Characteristics of the colonial people or Rip Van Winkle

Before the liberation war we see that the colonial people were very much ignorant, rustic and humble. Laziness, idealness, inactiveness are the commons characteristics of the colonial people. Hudson, the river of America is well known to all. Many years ago some people of Olondaz nation came here to live. They settled here. They made village here.

rip van winkle by washington irving

Character of Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle was born in village. Rip was a man of peculiar character. But he was simple and gentle. He was really a cordial man and loved his wife very much. He accepted the commands of his wife. But his wife Dame Van Winkle was very cruel and quarrelsome. Always she scolded here husband. She always misbehaved with her husband. Rip always gave the people good advice. He was a great story teller.

He knew many interesting stories. All the children in the village were his friends. He presented different types of ghost story before the child. In spite of being honest man, he had a weak point. He could not maintain his livelihood andcould not earn sufficient money running his family. He was totally unsuccessful to earn money. But he has sufficient patience. He had a hobby to catch fish. Be he could not catch fish. He roamed in the forest aimlessly with rifle/air-gun. But he was not expert hunter.

Rip’s all efforts became vain and he consider himself as an unfortunate man. Actually Rip was a fool and lazy. He as pleased with little earnings and was pleased with little earning. He was always mistreated by his wife. His peace was destroyed by his wife. She insulted him for his little income. Rip joined the party and liked gossiping.

He and his some friends gossiped in front of a little hotel. There was a picture of Geroge III on the wall of the hotel. Derrick Van Bummel was wiser than any other friends of Rip. He was considered as a scholar and actually he was a school master. He could utter the most difficult words of the dictionary. Nicholas Vedder was the owner of the hotel. He was the oldest man among them. He was a chain smoker. Rip was broken heartened. He thought to escape from the torture of his wife.

Rip Van Winkle go to the woods

To escape from the clutches of his wife one day he left his house without informing any body. He took only his Rifles and dog named wolf. Wolf was very submissive to his master. He and his dog went to the deep forest. It was evening. Rip was very tired. Suddenly he heard a sound. Somebody was uttering his name loudly. He saw a man coming towards him. The man was very short-figured. Even his appearance was peculiar. The ma was bearing heavy load on his head. He told Rip to help him to relax his load.

Rip saw that some people like this peculiar man coming towards him. They offered Rip to drink wine. Rip was totally unprepared. He also became frightened. He took some wine. But he was confused. He was very thirsty. So this wine was not unsuitable for him. He did not take wine before this time. So he took huge wine. After taking wine he felt drowsy. He felt into deep sleep. After awaking from sleep he heard the chirping of the birds. It was morning. He enjoyed a sound sleep.

Rip Van Winkle before and after he fell asleep

But all things seemed to him totally unknown. His best friend Wolf, the dog, was not present there. He tried to remember his previous days activities. He could clearly remember it. But he was doubtful. All thinks appeared before him as new. Now he was thinking about his wife’s misbehavior.

He was very concerned thinking that his wife would scold him after returning home. He saw his rifles beside him. But it was not as before. It was full of spots and dust.  The insects destroyed the wooden part to the rifle. Now Rip suspected it. He thought that the savage people took his new rifle. He started searching the dog. But it was absent.

Rip Van Winkle thought that the dog was busy in hunting. He decided to find out his dog and the savage people. He stood up to walk out. But he felt serious pain in his legs. The pain was in the joint of legs.

He thought that the hill tracks weather was not suitable for him and lost his physical strength. He thought that his physical illness would be accepted cordially by his wife. So, he was walking. But he explored the difference between previous day and present day. All thinks seemed to him obscure. He came to his own village. But he could not know anybody.

What happens when rip van winkle wakes up

Now he started suspecting. His suspicion increased when he had seen the fashionable dress of his village people. Rip saw his long and white hair. The whole village changed. The population of the village increased in a large number. The pattern of the house changed.

The language of the people changed. Everything seemed to him as magic. Rip blamed his luck. He thought that the wine led him to meet this condition. Bit he became able to find out his well known road of his village. He was walking and thinking that he would see his well-known faces. He saw that his own house was near to ruin.

The roof, windows and doors were broken. He was broken hearted seeing his empty house. He entered his house and tried to find out his wife and his children. But he could not explore the existence of his wife and children. A dreadful suspicious came into his mind.

He uttered his children’s name several times. But nobody responded. Then he went to the hotel where he had passed his time by gossiping. But he saw the new name and new owner of the hotel. He used to take rest under a tree. But there was no existence of that tree. He saw a bamboo. A flag was hanged at the top of the bamboo. There were several red spots on the flag.

Picture of George III in Rip Van Winkle Short Story

Rip also noticed that the picture of George III in the wall of the hotel had destroyed. He saw the name of Washington instead of George III. He tried to meet with his past friends. But there was no existence of them. Suddenly he saw a tall man coming towards him.

There were some printed papers in his pocket. The man delivered lecturer. Rip heard some new words from the discourse of the man. The man uttered the right of the citizen, right of the vote/franchise and about the Congress, freedom, contribution of the heroes. A man asked Rip whom he would give vote.

Rip could realize nothing. The people think that he is an enemy of them. They suspect the rifle of Rip and considered he as a spy. They think he has come to destroy their electoral meeting and threaten him. Now Rips starts crying. A man asks him whom he is searching.

Nicholas Vedder, replies Rip. An old man tells that Nicholas died 18 years ago. Next Rip utters the name of Brom Dutcher. The old man tells that Dutcher was killed as the time of war. Then Rip uttered the name of school-master Derrick van Bummel. The old man told that he had joined the war. Now he is very famous man.

Rip Van Winkle sleep for 20 years

Now Rip understands that he has already passed 20 years. Many new events have taken place. War-freedom-Congress these new words are totally obscure to Rip. Now Rip asks the people that have they heard the name of Rip Van Winkle. Two or three men confess that they have heard his name. A man tell him that

Rip used to take rest under a tree. He identifies his true information. Rip surprises now thinking that he does now know his own identity. The man wants to know the name of Rip. Suddenly a beautiful girl with a child come towards Rip. The child was crying. The girl consoled the child uttering the name of Rip. The voice of the girl seems to well known to Rip Van Winkle.

The name of the child and his name are the same. Rip Van Winkle wants to know the name of the girls. Judith Gardenier, replies the girl. What is your father’s name? Rip Van Winkle, replies the girl. The girl also tell that Rip Van Winkle left his house with rifle 20 years ago. He did not return. His dog returned alone.

Perhaps he committed suicide or was killed by Red Indians. Bit nobody can guess about his life. She was the little girl, say the girl. Rip asks the girl where is her mother. She died a few days ago, she replies. Rip Van Winkle disclose his identity and embrace with his loving daughter and grand son. Rip says that he does not know how he has become old within a night. Even nobody could believe his story.

Old Pitter come to see Rip and he identifies Rip. An ancestor of Pitter was a historian. He wrote the history of the village. Even Pitter knows many things about the village. Pitter believes that statement of Rip. Pitter has known from a book which was written by his ancestor about the short figured peculiar men who lived in this village.

Rip Van Winkle revolutionary war

Rip is informed about his country from his new friends. They are now independent. They are not dominated by the foreign rulers. Now he is the citizen of the independent country. Rip is very pleased thinking that his wife has died. Rip tells his 20 years sleeping story to all. So now it is a very common story to the people. Some people consider Ro as a liar. Some of them believe him. Those who are sufferer by their wives they hope to sleep 20 years like Rip Van Winkle.

Undoubtedly it can say that Rip Van Winkle is an imaginative story. But this story is pregnant with meaning. This story is a great source of pleasure for the children. But uts symbolic meaning is very significant. Its symbolic meaning is given below.

The story is related to the freedom and revolution of America. Rip felt into sleep and he passed 20 years. After getting rise from his sleep is understand that his country America has become free from foreign domination. The freedom of America was the dream of the people. The people of America dreamed their freedom.

The foreigners ruled them. Change is the order of the nature. Rip Van Winkle indicates this change of the society. After awakening from his sleep, Rip notices that all things have been changed. The life pattern of the people, their nature, their culture and tradition, infrastructures, language, and politics have been changed with the passage of time. Before sleeping, Rip was not independent. But he is now free after 20 years.

Rip Van Winkle is full of comic, humor and fun. The misbehavior of Rip’s wife is full of comic and fun. Rip was always insulted by his wife. On the other hand, Rip was very patient and simple. Rip’s simplicity may be the model of human being.

But the bad nature of his wife may bring unhappiness. Through Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving indicates the free flag and the contribution of George Washington. George Washington was the pioneer of the independent of America. He was the father of American freedom.

George III was an autocratic ruler. Before sleeping Rip saw the name of George III. But after awakening from sleep he saw the name of George Washington instead of George III. Through Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving indicates the voting rights of people. After 20 years Rip returned his owned  village.

Here he heard some new words like election, freedom, congress etc. A man asks Rip whom he will give vote. Hearing this Rip becomes surprised. Now he realizes that his country now free. Voting right has been established. Through Rip Van Winkle.

Washington Irving indicates his past ancestor and their culture. Before sleeping  Rip met with some short-figured strange people. Actually these strange people were their ancestors. After all we can say that Rip Van Winkle is very interesting story that symbolizing the symbolic meaning of freedom of America.

You can watch the following youtube about Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving – Plot Summary in the following:

So my students, I hope that you have understood rip van winkle by Washington Irving summary and analyse. Please do a comment below if you have any question.

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