What one besetting character weakness did Rip Van Winkle have?

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mperez-mugg21 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rip Van Winkle was a kind and gentle soul well liked within his community; however, his major weakness was a lack of industry. Rip Van Winkle was not lazy; after all he was perfectly happy to walk for hours on end or help his neighbors with their work or chores. However, he had what the narrator of the story describes as "an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor". When it came to tending his farm or any other activity that would stand to make him money, Rip Van Winkle simply wasn't willing to put in the effort. As a result, his farm was in a constant state of disrepair: "His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray, or get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere else." In fact, it is his lack of industry that ultimately leads to his misadventure and subsequent disappearance. If he had been working in his farm rather than strolling in the mountains, he might never have slept for 20 years.