How would Dame Van Winkle retell the story of "Rip Van Winkle?"

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, it would be hard for Dame Van Winkle to tell any of the ending part of this story seeing as how she died while Rip was asleep.  However, the parts of the story that she could tell would surely be very different.  They would be much less forgiving of Rip's flaws than the actual story is.

It is unlikely that Dame Van Winkle would have referred to Rip as "an obedient, henpecked husband" or that she would have said that he was "under the discipline of shrews (or a shrew) at home."  She would not have used this sort of language that implies that she was such a horrible wife that it was really understandable that Rip should spend so much time away from home.

Instead, the story would probably cast Rip not as a lovable layabout, but rather as an irresponsible person who failed in his duty as a husband and father.  She would sound much more critical when she talks about his laziness.  She would not make it sound amusing as in the following lines:

The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar’s lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble.

Dame Van Winkle, then, would tell the story from a much less sympathetic point of view.  She would probably emphasize the problems that Rip's behavior caused for her and her worries about how his attitudes would affect their children.