Describe the culture of the town before and after Rip Van Winkle ventures up into the mountains.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Rip Van Winkle falls asleep, his hometown is a small, sleepy backwater where nothing much ever happens. In this rural community, people are preoccupied with country pursuits, such as farming, fishing, and hunting squirrels. The slow rhythms of country life are just right for a man like Rip, who...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

When Rip Van Winkle falls asleep, his hometown is a small, sleepy backwater where nothing much ever happens. In this rural community, people are preoccupied with country pursuits, such as farming, fishing, and hunting squirrels. The slow rhythms of country life are just right for a man like Rip, who always likes to take things easy.

However, after twenty years in the Land of Nod, Rip finds that everything about the town has changed dramatically. As well as being much larger, with a much larger population, there's more of a buzz about the place. This is largely due to the town's experiences during the Revolutionary War, through which Rip slept like a baby. The townsfolk have been politicized by conflict, and when Rip wakes up, he finds that everyone seems to be preparing for the upcoming presidential election. The men at the inn argue over politics with passion and conviction, whereas in the days before Rip went to sleep, political discussions were much more civilized and sedate.

The profound change in culture that Rip encounters is the inevitable by-product of America's transition from a British colony to an independent nation.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team