Rip Van Winkle Questions and Answers
by Washington Irving

Rip Van Winkle book cover
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Compare the village before and after Rip's 20 years sleeping in "Rip Van Winkle."

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At the start of Irving's story, Rip Van Winkle is an easygoing fellow who likes to help people but is a failure at doing anything for himself. He enjoys going to his small tavern and telling stories. He lives in a small village in the Catskills where he is on good terms with his fellow townsfolk, including the dogs. He lives with his nagging wife and poor children. To escape his wife, Rip likes squirrel hunting, which he often does with his dog, Wolf.

Rip's idyllic lazy world ends when he is lured further into the Catskill Mountains by some supernatural men who offer him their hospitality and alcohol. Rip becomes drunk and falls asleep. When Rip wakes up, he returns to a village that he does not recognize, because he has slept for twenty years. The village is now larger, and everyone is dressed in different clothes. The children make fun of his long beard, and no dogs remember him. Rip is confused by the appearance of the new American flag. His tavern has changed its name to the Union...

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