Rip Van Winkle Essay

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Ozersky is a critic and essayist. In this essay, Ozersky puts the theme of Irving's story in its historical context, seeing in the famous sleeper a symbol of a vanishing culture.

The story of Rip Van Winkle is known to almost everybody. Even more than Washington Irving's other American fable, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," "Rip Van Winkle" is one of the few literary creations to have achieved truly mythic status. Natty Bumpo, Ichabod Crane, and even Tom Sawyer are well on the way to the glass museum case, there to rest alongside Peregrine Pickle, Uncle Remus, and the Five Chinese Brothers. But even a casual Nexis search reveals "Rip Van Winkle" alive and well, still being used in the most casual conversations on non-literary topics. Rip went to sleep for twenty years, and when he woke up, the world had changed; aside from being easy to remember...

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This section contains 1,708 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Rip Van Winkle Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Rip Van Winkle from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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