Apathy In Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

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The story of “Rip Van Winkle”, by Washington Irving, is of a quite unconcerned man whom takes a lengthy nap. Rip lives an ordinary life and busies himself with mundane activities, such as fishing all day with no bites and doing odd jobs for his neighbors. One day, he wonders into the Catskill Mountains to go hunting, falls asleep on a knoll, and does not awake for twenty years. Rip’s epic nap is a metaphor for political apathy and passivity in public and personal life. He awakes to a completely new world, which has undergone tumultuous changes, including that of his wife’s death. The story of “Rip Van Winkle” explores the consequences of his lack of involvement in his 6society. Apathy, a trait explored in “Rip Van Winkle”, has serious consequences and shows readers that participation in one’s own life is abundantly important. Rip falling asleep for 20 years is quite intriguing, which leaves many readers wondering: what if his story was real? What if someone fell asleep and missed the American Revolution or 9/11? The consequences of such a great mistake…show more content…
If a Rip Van Winkle experience occurred in real life, like Isaac Hayes’ story, and caused an American citizen to miss an important American conflict like 9/11 or the Civil War, one would discover innumerable changes upon their return. There are great consequences of being apathetic and passive, which show their effects on both the personal and public life of Rip Van Winkle. These consequences include Rip becoming irrelevant to the people he once knew, not knowing the new culture and people of his village, and the most important consequence - change. The story also supports that Americans should play an active role in their own lives, like Rip should have done in his personal life. “Rip Van Winkle” is a popular, intriguing story that details the traits of apathy and passivity in regards to one’s
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