How Does Rip Van Winkle Characterize The Great American Dream

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The Great American Dream is an ideal that states through hard work and dedication, every American citizen has the opportunity to accomplish personal goals and achieve success. The amount of effort put forth to obtain these goals, and achieve individualized success is decided upon by that citizen. Some of the more common goals and successes are ownership of property, obtaining wealth, enjoying liberties, experiencing patriotism, and raising a family. In “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving, the main character Rip is able to obtain the Great American Dream through laziness. Washington Irving satirizes the Great American Dream in his short story, and in this paper I will analyze how “Rip Van Winkle” can be read as a parody.

In this story, Washington Irving characterizes Rip as a lethargic man, and from my understanding his character is the antithesis of Benjamin Franklin. Rip Van Winkle is a complete contradiction of Benjamin Franklin in almost all aspects of life. Benjamin Franklin was wealthy, ambitious, hardworking, and detailed man who was one of the founding fathers. While Rip lacks motivation, drive for success, and structure in his life. Benjamin Franklin is an individual representation of what the Great American Dream portrays, but his success is parodied by Rip’s leisure lifestyle.

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Personally, my Great American Dream is to own a home/property, raise a family, obtain wealth, and enjoy the freedoms granted to me by the Constitution. Washington Irving wrote “Rip Van Winkle” as to be read as a parody, and through the description of Rip’s characteristic traits he accomplished that. Whether someone’s idea of the Great American Dream is similar to mine, I predict that fellow American citizens would agree that Rip Van Winkle’s character is a parody of the Great American

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