I need some help on this one question: Point out three details that help you see the historical period in which the story is set.Washington Irving's "Rip van Winkle"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Based upon German folk tales with which Washington Irving became familiar on his many visits to Europe, "Rip van Winkle" is set in Colonial America and post-colonial times, shortly after the U.S. Constitution has been written.  For, he describes the resplendent Kaatskill (Catskill) Mountains "clothed in blue and purple that rise above the majestic Hudson River.

  1. That Irving's narrative is set during the Colonial Period within twenty years of the American Revolution is first evinced in the mention of a "rubicund portrait of his majesty George the Third."  This portrait hangs at an inn where Rip van Winkle sits on a bench on lazy summer days. (paragraph 9)
  2. After Rip awakens from his twenty-year sleep, he returns to the village inn only to find that the painting of King George has "metmorphosed" to a man with a sword, blue coat, and cocked hat.  Under the head is printed "General Washington."  The indication here is that the American Revolution has taken place while Rip has slept. (paragraph 30)
  3. Rip is disturbed by the fellow with handbills who "harangues vehementsly about "rights of citizens--elections--members of Congress and other words that confuse van Winkle.  Evidently, the new government of the United States of America has been formed. (paragraphy 31)
  4. When Rip declares himself a loyal subject of the King, he is met with shout of "A Tory!  A Tory! a spy! a Refugee," so the revolution must have just occurred. (paragraph 33)


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