Discuss the meaning of the changes at the village inn. In what ways does the behavior of the patrons change? What inspired the changes? What does this convey about human nature? Provide an example of this from your own experience.

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The patrons of the inn in "Rip Van Winkle" change as follows. Before Rip's twenty-year nap, they consist of apathetic, lackadaisical men like Rip. They all like to hang out, read months-old newspapers, and discuss what they've learned while sitting under a portrait of King George III. After Rip wakes up and returns home, the inn is bustling with energetic people eager to participate in an upcoming election. A portrait of George Washington has replaced that of King George III.

The American Revolution has inspired these changes. The United States is now its own country, and it operates as a participatory democracy. In the old days twenty years ago, people were merely subjects of a far-away king. They had no say in how their government was run, but now they are vibrantly involved in making decisions about how they wish to live.

This conveys the theme that when people become stakeholders in a venture where their actions can make a difference they become energized. People who have no influence in how their lives are run tend to become apathetic.

You would have to come up with your own example, but I can remember in years past being invited at work to be part of a quality circle. In this circle, employee input was used to help make positive changes in our department. I was energized because of the chance to make a difference. When have you been invited to help make a difference?

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