Rip Van Winkle Questions and Answers
by Washington Irving

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How does Irving use two narrators to defend the tale’s credibility and what details reveal a Romantic fascination with the past/nature?

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clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The "framing" of this story through a narrator (Crayon), and two authors (Knickerbocker and Irving, who are likely one and the same) sets a mock-serious tone from the very beginning.  It would seem that the purpose behind such framing is to add to the credibility and truth of the story.  In reality, the introductory passages are very "tongue in cheek" (or satirical).

What this framing actually does is emphasize the story's nature as folklore and fiction and add to its humor.  The story itself (without the quote and note of explanation at the beginning as well as the extra information in the afterward) sounds pretty silly.  Think about it.  A lazy man goes off into the woods to escape his nagging wife, gets drunk with a bunch of forest-bowling Dutchmen, and wakes up 20 years later to find that his nagging wife is dead and his own (now grown) daughter will allow him to continue in his laziness and be respected for it?!  How is this plausible?

By framing the story behind a narrator who...

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