October 4, 2016
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Many themes in the story come forward in this passage, the overarching Knickerbockers and Yankees feud, change from old to new, the stereotypical comments on gender roles, and the use of nature as a way to connect these themes. Throughout the story, Rip and the narrator have commented about the wife and women in general, calling them “hen” in different manners, referring to them as nagging, despite their supportive roles, but in this passage, the wife has disappeared and Rip must feel the consequences of her absence. As a reader, I wish that more than one paragraph was contributed to her loss in this particular passage, but I suppose it is better than Rip being relieved that she was gone. Rip then moves through the town and finds that everything has changed, alluding to a takeover by the Yankees, an out with the old and in with new, and this is solidified by the imagery of King George being replaced by GENERAL WASHINGTON and him being called a tory. Rip replies that he is “a poor, quiet man,” showing that he represents the rural lifestyle, which seems to have been urbanized during his twenty years away. In this scene, Rip has come from the mountains and into town, leaving nature, where he had an acid-like experience, and coming to terms with reality once he has come down. Thus, nature was the literal portal for him to transport through time, such that even if he remains away from society, society still changes around him.
I love the emotion and the writing in this paragraph. This is so very different from the Puritan pieces we read leading up to this point. Bless his heart, you feel as if you are poor mister Rip Van Winkle. The emotion, fanciful storytelling, passion, and honest storytelling has really come to light in this piece. This is the beginning of modern literature as we know it today, and is a testament to how far writing has come. The appeal to honesty and integrity is still important here in the protagonist of the piece being as that Van Winkle still has to be an upstanding man in order for the reader to feel connected with his story. It is also a bit of a relief from the more modern pieces because for once it is not in the setting of a city and a broad story of many religious ideals but rather a hones in story fully focused on this one man
I really enjoyed this passage. It gives a very entertaining and detailed description of the type of man Rip was. When the narrator says “would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.” The reader gets a better understanding of how come he doesn’t want to work on his farm. He hates work. The narrator says he would “whistled life away, in perfect contentment” It seems Rip would have been completely fine with nothing. With how the narrator speaks in this passage it seems that Rip doesn’t even have a need or desire for his wife. Family’s require work and with how this passage is described the reader gets the idea that Rip doesn’t like any type of work, not even love. “Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife.” He would then go outside but the passage never says anything about him working with her on his responses or that he goes outside to actually work. I enjoyed how this passage gives a deeper description of the type of man Rip was.
[At the foot of these fairy mountains]
In Washington Irving’s story of Rip Van Winkle the setting of the Appalachian Mountains is as meaning full as the metaphor in the story. What Irving does at the introduction of his story here is he starts by setting an image for the reader, and a precedent in general, of a notion of magic and mystery that is hidden or underlying in the American landscape. These themes of magic and mystery that are usually developed out of a long, veiled historical context of British literature, in American literature now rely on the vast mysteries that are held within the grand mountainous settings of America.
I agree. This paragraph shows amazing imagery and descriptive words that contribute more to the mystery with the light smoke curling upward and the blue melting away into the greener landscape. I love this clear description of the song so that we truly get a picture of where this takes place.
In this paragraph of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” Rip compares the new citizens, New Englanders, to the old New Yorkers. The “Yankees” are a busy, money-oriented group; they want change and progress in their new country. The old “Knickerbockers” lived much calmer and slower lives. Rip experiences a metamorphosis in nature that transports him to a new time that is so different from what he knows that he almost mistakes it for a different place. Everything he knew is gone (the people, the fashions, the buildings, even his dog) and has been replaced. This represents the change from the colonies being under the rule of Britain to the states being under the command of their own government: everything changed in a short time.
One of my favorite things about this story is the excellent setup of Rip’s character traits. This story is well known for a few important reasons, such as the commentary on the American revolution, but the thing that sticks out to me the most is the well written humor that engulfs the whole story. Rip is set up as a lazy husband and father in this passage, which is important because it sets up a tone that is carried throughout the rest of the plot. The plot point where Rip falls asleep outside the town works really well with most readers because of the way Rip is set up in these early paragraphs. Also, the reader is led to not question the length of Rip’s rest even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because of the quirky and whimsical tone that Irving sets up early on in the story.
Nice points, Jacob. Only note that Irving does not use the term lazy here. What he does say is that Rip is averse to all “profitable” forms of labor, and it’s important to observe that his lack of a profit motive sets him squarely at odds with the materialistic values of the enlightenment age. Just as we’ve seen other works offer a rejection of Enlightenment values (ie, Brown’s rejection of rationalism as a guiding principle for understanding human behavior), we can see in Rip’s character a rejection of the commercialism and material self-interest championed by writers like Freneau and Franklin. In the present tale, though, the enlightenment wave will descend on Rip’s way of life so quickly and thorough that it seems to him to do so overnight.
I enjoyed this paragraph because it is always nice to know what you are going to be reading about. It is interesting to me that this man, Diedrich Knickerbocker, wanted to study Dutch history and instead of studying history directly, instead studied a Dutch family. However, I think it is also very interesting that it is blatantly stated that he preferred to study people because books “are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics.”
Your comment brought up the idea, for me, of this being a far-fetched version of the departure-peril-arrival motif that we’ve been seeing consistently throughout the different readings this semester. Although, in this narrative, I’m not really sure that Rip is ever in a particularly perilous situation despite his decision to follow the old wanderer in the hills and to drink an unknown substance that takes twenty years to sleep off.
I really enjoy Washington Irving’s writing style. He writes simply and is easily understood. But, I can tell there is more behind his simple words. Irving seems to be writing about a bigger message. You can tell he is very choice with his words and make sure not to add any unnecessary or gap sentences, which is unusual for a writer. I liked the line in this paragraph, “the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some out-door work to do”, it is very relatable. The days always turn out to be the wrong time to do something you really don’t want to do.
This feels like one of the most important paragraphs in the story because it introduces Rip Van Winkle and shows readers his character likes and dislikes and ways of life. It is interesting there that this is the paragraph where it tells readers that he kind of ignores the bad things that goes on in his life. He likes to whistle his life away but his wife is complaining, he is careless, and he is bringing ruin to his family but he shrugs it off and ignores it. In some ways it seems that it does not affect his outloook on life, but eventually it seems as if things might take its toll.
[Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself as he went up the mountain; apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged.]
Even though Rip had been missing for 20 years, his son was there to fill his place as if he had never left (and it seems like his grandson might take up that mantle when both are gone). There is a sense of stasis here in comparison to the massive change the village has experienced. However, because this new village is becoming more focused on making money due to the Yankee invasion, Rip Van Winkle Jr.’s way of life might be unsustainable. It makes me wonder how Rip III will turn out when he becomes an adult.
Ky, you make some great points in your post. I think the role of women in this story is interesting, especially since he doesn’t seem to appreciate his wife and then he loses her and feels loneliness. I agree with you in wishing that he acknowledged her death more. But I guess that isn’t the main point of the story.
In his article, entitled ‘Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture’, scholar Robert A. Ferguson examines the character of Rip Van Winkle in depth and identifies some of the key flaws that keep this iconic figure of early American Folklore in conversation to this day. One of the flaws identified in Ferguson’s article is the issue of drink, which is brought up in the selected paragraph. Ferguson argues that Rip’s problems with being a “naturally thirsty soul” can be attributed to and explain his lack of success in life: “Habitual drinking keeps him from the steady application that every good farm requires” (533). This explanation of Rip’s tendency to ‘bum around’ aligns to the events of the story, as well as illuminating a reason why he continues to be a influential character in American literature. According to Ferguson, “We value Rip most of all because we find something of our own foibles in him, not because we worry about drink or because we fear an encounter with Heinrich Hudson when we enter the Kaatskill Mountains. Rip’s faults…are our own bad habits carried to extremes. Irving keeps to the lighter side of these extremes” (533-534). Through the relatable aspects and complexities of Rip’s character, readers throughout the years are enabled, through Irving’s lighthearted storytelling, to return to this original American folktale with as timeless a perspective as the readers who scanned the first print-warmed lines of this work.
Ferguson, Robert A. “Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture.” Early American Literature, vol. 40, no. 3, 2005, pp. 529–544. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25057421.
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April 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm
See in context
April 24, 2018 at 10:34 am
April 20, 2018 at 3:58 am
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April 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm
April 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm
In Charles Brockden Brown’s article, “The Difference between History and Romance” he writes about the novel, Wieland, and the relationship that the novel has between history and romance. He explains how history and romance are intertwined and how imperfections of man are part of our future, present, and past. In this paragraph, Clara is overtaken by her senses of this man, “I count among the most extraordinary incidents of my life”. Clara is an irrational character taken over by romantic ideas. Her history and her future are based on her emotional decisions. There is no separation between the two. Brockden Brown writes, “when busy in assigning motives to actions, are not historians but romancers.” Which relates directly to what is happening to Clara in this passage. When talking about history, it is the “noting and recording of the actions of men” which I think is very important because mankind is often if not always driven by passion and emotion. This also plays well with the strong theme of passion and emotion that is current throughout Wieland and all the characters.
Barnard, Philip, and Stephen Shapiro, editors. “The Difference Between History and Romance.” Wieland or the Transformation, with Related Texts, by Charles Brockden Brown, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, pp. 195–198.
April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm
This passage is very focused on individualism, Franklin seems to be looking at the better things in his life instead of focusing on the negative. He doesn’t dwell on the idea that he wish he lived life without committing fault instead he touches on it and shifts into how he’s basically glad with how he’s lived life. In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” Steven Forde presents the idea that Franklin Autobiography should be used as a model of developing good character and morals. Franklin states, “conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”, but soon realizes that he had, “undertaken a task of more difficulty than he had imagined.” Forde believes, “each of the loopholes… is deliberate”. The loopholes represent another idea, that being that when striving for greater morality the individual must also take all aspects of life in consideration and be reasonable. Forbes introduces another idea, “If Franklin had viewed virtue more strictly, he might have been forced to give up on it”.
Forde, Steven. “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 2, 1992, pp. 357–368. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225.
April 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm
In her article “What’s Wrong With Charlotte Temple” Marion Rust addresses Charlotte’s passions as well as her inability to make decisions and relates it to her overall fall from her position in society. Rust uses this paragraph as an example of Charlotte’s indecisiveness. Here it is exemplified that Charlotte can’t even make a simple decision on her own. She has to reach out to her mentor in order to decide what to even do with something as simple as a written letter. Rust catapults off this point by claiming that Charlotte’s future will continue to be unguided and spiral downward farther than she already has. Rust bases this claim on the idea that Charlotte will not be able to support herself because she is always looking to some one outside herself to guide her through obstacles.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
April 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Andrew Scheiber’s article “The Arm Lifted against Me”: Love, Terror and the Construction of Gender in “Wieland” explores Clara’s gendered role in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Scheiber points to patterns of Clara’s marginalization and enclosure throughout the story, specifically in relation to her role in the context of the familial structure of the story’s plot. Scheiber explains that, “though the Age of Reason invites her to identify herself with the life of the mind, Clara is barred by her womanhood from fully achieving such an identification, since the gender ideology of the times defines the intellect as secondary rather than primary, to the essence of “feminine” nature” (Schieber 178) which is an interesting perspective considering the emphasis on reason and intellect throughout the story, and the fact that Clara is the primary protagonist of the story. Schieber claims that when Clara questions the audience, “was I not likewise transformed from rational and human into a creature of nameless and fearful attributes” (Brown 137) that she is exposing her “self-condemnation” that is born out of the gendered system that relates “rational” and “human” on the masculine side of gender axis, and the negation of those qualities to the feminine side of the axis.
Brown, Charles Brockden, Philip Barnard, and Stephen Shapiro. Wieland ; or the Transformation. An American Tale with Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. Print.
Scheiber, Andrew J. “‘The Arm Lifted against Me’: Love, Terror, and the Construction of Gender in ‘Wieland.’” Early American Literature, vol. 26, no. 2, 1991, pp. 173–194.
April 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm
In “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity” by Blythe Forcey, it is said that the motherly affection of the narrator is what really makes this story relatable. I found this article to be interesting because I think that it very true. I think the way that the narrator acts in a motherly way really helps the story along. Forcey states, “Early American readers were able, as they read this novel, to live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears. But, guided by the careful and caring narrative of Mrs. Rowson, they emerged safe and unscathed, with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). I think this is a very important quote because it makes you, as the reader, realize just how good of an author Susana Rowson truly was. To be able to make her readers feel safe even during a scary time, all due to the way this story is narrated. Forcey also states, “The motherly character of Rowson’s narrative voice is evident from her first addresses to the reader… Thus she offers, quite explicitly, to stand in for those ‘natural friends’ that the reader might have lost and to protect them from the horrors of the world” (228). I think this is a very important statement as well. Forcey makes it clear that even from the very first sentence of this story, Susana Rowson manages to take our hand and make us feel safe.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 225–241. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I also really loved this line. The Earth is the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, and that gets so overlooked in our day to day struggles. Nature and death are like you said, both important parts of the cycle of life. The connection being made in these two lines applies to most of what we have studied through the semester in this class. Even the puritans had themes of nature as a part of their beliefs. Nature and death are the two things that connect humanity because no human on Earth can avoid either one of these things. We will all die and become a part of nature once more, because that is how we began the cycle.
April 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Within this passage, we witness the first instance of Charlotte beginning to distrust her own instincts. While at the party she was led to believe would be fun and entertaining, she realizes that being obedient and staying home would have been better than sneaking out with La Rue. As the story progresses we see Charlotte trust those instincts less and, according to Marion Rust’s article “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple'”, her behavior becomes increasingly described as some “form of collapse, in which her future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity.” This continual falling down that Charlotte experiences effectively acts to demonstrate Rowson’s commentary on the unreliability of young women’s own moral character and how they are insufficiently able to stand up to the force of external moral corruption.
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Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118.
April 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm
Throughout her essay, “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself”, Cath N. Davidson expresses the aspects which make the text so significant. She explains the strength of emotion that is brought because the narrative is told from Equiano himself. She also expresses that the non-traditional storytelling is what makes it interesting and evokes emotion throughout. Davidson ultimately points out that, “Many aspects of the text make it significant, but especially impressive is it expansive reach” (19). His story is told in many parts of the world and allows readers to feel this narrative from place to place based on his narrating abilities. For example, Equiano himself states “in the preceding chapter I have set before the reader a few of those many instances of oppression, extortion, and cruelty, which I have been a witness to in the West Indies”. As readers have been taken from place to place Equiano stops to show the places he’s been and the things he’s seen. Davidson also points out the emotion-evoking tones and voice used by Equiano. Addressing the many aspects of the text Davidson writes, The text combines (in unequal parts) slave narrative, sea yarn, military adventure, ethnographic reportage, historical fiction, travelogue, picaresque saga, sentimental novel, allegory, tall tale, pastoral origins myth, gothic romance, conversion tale, and abolitionist tract, with different features coming to the fore at different times, and the mood vacillating accordingly” (20). His slave trade journey was terrible and cruel; as readers see Equiano journey from place to place they empathize with him more and begin to realize the terrible conditions in which he was under. The narrative of Equiano become more and more effective for readers because of the places Equiano takes us and the voice he uses to evoke that emotion out of readers.
Davidson, Cathy N. “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 18–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267683.
April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm
According to William Pencak, author of “Benjamin Franklin’s Biography, Cotton Mather, and a Puritan God,” in this paragraph, Franklin is defending the stakes on which he wrote his autobiography, as well as defending his own morality. Franklin was very dedicated to his moral standing with himself and God and went through extreme measures to ensure that he would end up on the ‘right’ side of things. This particular passage is about the ‘justification of his book’ which ‘illustrates an important philosophical point: the need for ideal principles, realized in practice, to subdue “Natural Inclination,” as well as the bad effects of, “Custom and Company” (Pencak 8). The ‘artifice’ that Franklin describes represents the civilization of people that he is surrounded by and he believes that they should be informed of his knowledge, life, and commitment to God. Franklin didn’t believe that being religious meant attending church, donating to pastors, or things alike. It was about believing in God, Praying honestly, and being virtuous. Throughout this autobiography, Franklin defends and justifies his beliefs and morality.
Pencak, William. “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, COTTON MATHER, AND A PURITAN GOD.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 53, no. 1, 1986, pp. 1–25. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27773087.
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