Rip Van Winkle
The Husband who couldn't Handle It
Irving's use of literary techniques in Rip Van Winkle brings the story to life as they draw the reader into the plot and allow the reader to begin to fully understand Rip's true nature. This insight into the mind of Rip Van Winkle allows the reader to begin to empathize with Rip's domestic troubles. Only once the reader fully comprehends Rip's mental state can he/she begin to understand the relationship between Rip and Dame Van Winkle. Ultimately it is Rip's unhappiness with his wife that leads him into the woods that one fateful day.
At the beginning of the story Irving spends his time developing the characteristics of the protagonist Rip, because in order for the reader to understand the mystical events that occur in the story we have to become familiar with the identity of the man they are happening to.
Although Rip's physical appearance is described very little, Irving characterizes Rip through his relationship to others and the world around him. While Rip was a "simple, "good-natured man" and "moreover a kind neighbor" it was his "insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor" that ultimately led to his unhappiness. Irving illustrates Rip's lack of perseverance when he uses a simile to describe Rip's apathetic behavior by saying, "he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a tartar's lance and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble." This simile further demonstrates just how little Rip seems to care about the typical concept of success that he is content to fish all day with a heavy pole and not catch anything. The reader comes to understand that...