Why does Rip enjoy spending time listening to the junto in Rip Van Winkle? Describe Rip’s character in the context of his neighbors’ habits and hobbies.

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rip Van Winkle is a carefree man. He will play any sport or game with the children of the village. He will fish for hours on end, even without the faintest hope of catching anything. He will do most anything except attend to his own work on his farm. His wife is frustrated with this behavior and constantly accosts and scolds him for letting the family down. Rip looks for any way to get away from his work and his "termagant" (violent or hot tempered woman) wife. In addition, he likes the atmosphere of the junto (political or social group). They discuss politics, tell stories, and talk as if they were the sage philosophers of the village. Their functional leader, Nicholas Vedder, is so laid back that his contributions to the discussion consist of angry or tranquil puffs from his pipe. This is the kind of idle, relaxing hobby that Rip loves. 

Rip is a child at heart and also a kind, helpful neighbor. He would sooner help a neighbor than do work on his own farm. He is a favorite with children but also the women of the village. This is on account of his preference for gossip, but also because he lends a helping hand to them as well. And he takes errands that their husbands would tend not to do. So, if he is similar to his neighbors in habits and hobbies, his similarities lie mostly with women and children. He will engage in anything that provides a carefree atmosphere. This is why he enjoys talking with the men (junto) at the inn. The fact that he avoids his own work is what makes him different from his neighbors. 

Read the study guide:
Rip Van Winkle

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question