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Rip Van Winkle And American Dream

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In Rip Van Winkle, Irving shows his doubts the American Identity and the American dream. After the Revolutionary war, American was trying to develop its own course. They were free to govern their own course of development; however, some of them had an air of uncertainties on their own identity in this new country. Irving was born among this generation in the newly created United States of America, and also felt uncertainty about the American identity. Irving might be the writer that is the least positive about being an American. The main reason for this uncertainty is the new born American has no history and tradition while the Europe has a great one accumulated for thousands of years. Therefore, in order to solve this problem, Irving borrows an old European tale to make it take place in America. This tale related to the Dutch colonists haunts the kaatskill mountains. In order to highlight the American identity, Irving praises the "majestic" mountains which Europe lacks. He describes the mountains that "their summitsÐ'...will glow and light up like a crown of glory" Nevertheless, the use of these ancient explorers into Rip Van Winkle only to show that although American has formed its own identity, no one can cut its connection with Europe. No wonder when America was still under tyranny of the British rule, some people still cannot cut the blood relationship with Europe. Therefore, the American identity is blurred by their relationship with Europe since then.

Rip doesn't change his disposition after he has slept through the revolutionary war. Before the war, he can be seen as typical Americans. He Ð''s a lazy and obedient hen-pecked husband. "In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible." His idleness to his responsibility can be seen as American's unwillingness to be a servant of England. "There is phlegm and drowsy tranquility" around the town before the revolution war. However, after Rip awakes from his sleep for twenty years, everything in the town has changed. "There was a busy, bustling, disputatious tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy tranquility." Also, the sign outside the tavern where



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