What is the main idea of the story "Rip Van Winkle"?

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The main idea of the story is to show how much the world has changed since Rip fell asleep twenty years before. It is a celebration of American independence from Britain.

Rip is apathetic, unambitious, happy-go-lucky, and willing to bumble through life in an unfocused way, hunting or fishing while...

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The main idea of the story is to show how much the world has changed since Rip fell asleep twenty years before. It is a celebration of American independence from Britain.

Rip is apathetic, unambitious, happy-go-lucky, and willing to bumble through life in an unfocused way, hunting or fishing while his farm goes to wrack and ruin. He also likes to sit with his friends outside the inn under the portrait of George III and discuss old news. He is the perfect symbol of the British colonial subject, going nowhere, henpecked, and letting other people do all the thinking while he wanders aimlessly through life.

When Rip wakes up, he is surprised to find a vigorous new democracy has emerged while he has been sleeping. His once sleepy village is now animated by elections the male citizens can participate in. He is jeered when, not knowing the Revolutionary War has been fought, he declares himself a loyal subject of King George III.

Irving is contributing to nation-building with this story, creating an American myth for a young new country. The United States is depicted as vigorous, focused, red-blooded, and can-do. Rip exists as a symbol of the bad old days, when Americans were unambitious colonial subjects, willing to let England henpeck them.

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