What cautionary messages is Washington Irving sending through Rip Van Winkle’s mishaps?

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The message or moral presented in "Rip Van Winkle " is that if you don't work while you are young and don't make something of yourself, you will wake up one day and find that you have grown old, you can no longer do anything to make a decent...

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The message or moral presented in "Rip Van Winkle" is that if you don't work while you are young and don't make something of yourself, you will wake up one day and find that you have grown old, you can no longer do anything to make a decent living, you are dependent on others to take care of you, and that life has passed you by. Time passes so quickly in life that it can seem as if you have grown old overnight just like Rip Van Winkle. You look in the mirror and you don't even recognize yourself with those gray hairs and all those lines and wrinkles. You realize too late that you wasted your life on nothing but frivolities. You thought you had all the time in the world, but now you realize that all of your precious time has run out. Henry James alludes to these feelings in the phrase "the retribution of time." Life is a struggle for existence for almost all living creatures. The wise man, like the ant in the fable of "The Grasshopper and the Ant," prepares ahead of time. The Bible says:

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
                                        Proverbs 6:6-8 (King James Version)

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