Although "Rip Van Winkle" is a fictional tale, it presents truths that can teach the reader. Write an essay (min. 150 words) that focuses on the truths presented in the short story.

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When we talk about "truths that can teach the reader" from fictional stories, we are talking about themes. Even short stories can contain many themes. These are subjects, messages, or central ideas presented through the plot of the story that are universally applicable

When answering this short essay ,...

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When we talk about "truths that can teach the reader" from fictional stories, we are talking about themes. Even short stories can contain many themes. These are subjects, messages, or central ideas presented through the plot of the story that are universally applicable

When answering this short essay, I advise you to focus on one main theme, or lesson. When you consider the time "Rip Van Winkle" was first published (1819), a time in American history when the ideas of hard work, fighting for freedom, and gaining independence both individually and as a nation were very strong American values, this story seems to be a direct contrast to these ideas.

Rip is not just lazy. He neglects his wife (and his home duties), whom he has already driven to be an overbearing and nagging woman, because of his lack of work ethic. He escapes responsibility by fleeing to the mountains (a very classic message of "Romanticism") and sleeps through the revolution after drinking an alcoholic beverage.

There seems to be one predominant lesson here. In stark contrast to the ideals of hard work and personal responsibility presented in Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac, "Rip Van Winkle" seems to show the consequences of laziness, escaping responsibility, and even drinking. It could easily be considered a message to Americans (predominantly) that reinforces the ideals of the early American leaders. It also seems to be a warning not to "fall asleep" and miss out on some of the biggest changes happening in the country. It is a call to participation, certainly, but worthwhile participation. It is a call--almost directly to men--to responsibility and leadership, starting in the home and extending to society.

For more help with this question, I encourage you to check out the link below which provides more information on themes in this short story.

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