Rip Van Winkle Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Young looks to mythological influences on "Rip Van Winkle" and the impact that they could have on interpretations of the story.

Nearly a century and a half have elapsed, and the name of Rip Van Winkle, one of the oldest in our fiction, is as alive as ever. The subject of innumerable representations—among them some of the country's finest paintings—America's archetypal sleeper is almost equally well known abroad. Nor is his fame simply popular, or commercial. The most complex of poets, as well as the least sophisticated of children, are attracted to him.

But there is something ironic here, for at its center Rip's story is every bit as enigmatic as it is renowned, and the usual understanding of Rip himself, spread so wide, is shallow. Very few of the millions of people who have enjoyed his tale would...

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This section contains 672 words
(approx. 2 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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