Rip Van Winkle and the American Dream With Judith Fetterley

Essay by sademaria15College, UndergraduateC+, November 2014

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Student's Last Name 1



Kayla Sade Maria Headley

Professor M. Altschuler


22 October 2013

Rip Van Winkle and the American Dream

With Judith Fetterley

What is the American dream? The American dream is the national ideology of our modern day society; it is a set of ideals in which it includes freedom, the chance for prosperity and success as well as an upward social mobility which is achieved through hard work and dedication. But in Washington Irving's 'Rip Van Winkle' the protagonist rip van winkle achieved his own version of the American quite differently; through pure laziness as a result he destroyed everything his family worked so hard for. While on the other had; Judith Fetterley, author of an article titled 'The Resisting Reader-An American Dream: Rip Van Winkle' believes that rip van winkle is the anti-hero who enjoys the American fantasy and not the American dream.

Rip van Winkle, is the hero of a short story by the American writer Washington Irving. Rip is a cheerful but indolent farmer in upstate New York. Always willing to help others, Rip neglected his own home and chores, causing his wife to nag him constantly. One day Rip went hunting in the Catskill Mountains and met a strange-looking little man carrying a keg of liquor. Rip drank some of the liquor and falls asleep. Twenty years later; Rip awoke to find his world completely changed. During his long sleep, his wife and most of his friends had died, and the American Revolution had taken place. The true meaning behind the story itself is an entertaining fantasy; Rip Van Winkle is an incompetent male hero who cannot support his farm or family. Instead of facing the consequences of his redundancy and facing his wife, who certainly...