In "Rip Van Winkle," how would Rip's brother retell this story?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume from your question that you have been asked to rewrite this excellent story from the perspective of a bystander, and in this case the brother of Rip. The place to start would be to imagine how a bystander would have looked upon the case from their perspective. Clearly, you would need to focus on Rip at the beginning and the kind of useless character he is. You would probably describe his position wryly, focusing on the humour of how he helps everybody else but never his own family, and his status as a henpecked husband as a result. Then, with his disappearance, you would obviously express concern and wonder at what had happened to Rip and the efforts to find him. Finally, in your old age, you would express your wonder and amazement at his return and the story that he tells.

I think crucially above all you would need to remember that this story is a story that is an ironic comment about history and the passing of time, and how momentous events like the American Revolutionary War and independence can occur without actually changing things beyond superficial details. Therefore Rip's account would have to bring this perspective to the story.