Rip Van Winkle Themes

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Rip Van Winkle journeys into the mountains and falls asleep during the time when "the country was yet a province of Great Britain." The local inn where Rip spends much of his time has a sign outside with a portrait of "His Majesty George the Third," who ruled Great Britain from 1760 to his death in 1820. Other than the portrait, there is no indication in the early part of the story that Rip and his friends are aware of politics, or concerned about it in any way. Various critics have used clues in the story and their knowledge of history to place the beginning anywhere from 1769 to 1774. Although in other parts of the colonies taxpayers are already angry by this time about taxation without representation and other affronts, the men of this village talk endlessly about nothing.

When Rip returns, sometime between 1789 and 1794, significant changes have occurred. The...

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This section contains 1,018 words
(approx. 3 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.