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In "Rip Van Winkle," did Geoffrey Crayon like Knickerbocker?

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ajleibman | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:02 AM via web

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In "Rip Van Winkle," did Geoffrey Crayon like Knickerbocker?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:54 PM (Answer #1)

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It is clear from the introduction that we are given to this excellent short story, in which Geoffrey Crayon, the ostensible reporter of this story, introduces us to Knickerbocker, that he is not favourably disposed towards Knickerbocker. Consider how Geoffrey Crayon refers to Knickerbocker's death:

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work, and now that he is dead and gone it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his time might have been much better employed in weightier labors. He, however, was apt to ride his hobby in his own way; and though it did now and then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors and grieve the spirit of some friends, for whom he felt the truest deference and affection, yet his errors and follies are remembered “more in sorrow than in anger”; and it begins to be suspected that he never intended to injure or offend.

If we look carefully at this quote, it is obvious that Crayon felt his labours to capture follk tales and stories from Dutch immigrants to the United States was perhaps misguided or a waste of his efforts, and that the final result, whilst being the careful outcome of lots of hard work on the behalf of Knickerbocker, is not the kind of fiction that Geoffrey Crayon himself approves of. Of course, it is important to remember the irony of this supposed creation of Geoffrey Crayon. Washington Irving wrote under this pseudonym and his supposed dissatisfaction with Knickerbocker's work is humorous when we remember that ultimately Irving is the author of both characters and of the story itself.

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