A satire pokes fun at a problem to make a social comment, often through using exaggeration.
In "Rip Van Winkle," Irving uses the character of Rip to satirize the lackadaisical, apathetic ways of the colonial American subjects living under the rule of George III and the British Empire. Rip is an exaggeratedly apathetic man who allows himself to be bullied, just as the colonists let themselves be bullied by George III. Rather than fight back, Rip wanders around the woods doing a little hunting or sits outside the local inn talking about old news. He's so out of it that he falls asleep for an amazing twenty years—significantly, under an Old World spell conjured by the spirits of original Dutch settlers.
If the lackadaisical colonial mindset is being satirized through Rip, this is done to throw into contrast the vigor and life of the new republic, where people aren't content to live sleepy, unambitious lives.
An element of satire in "Rip Van Winkle" is its similarity to European folk tales,...
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