Rip Van Winkle Allusion Activity

by Tessie Barbosa

  • Released February 11, 2020
  • Language Arts and Literature subjects
  • 8 pages
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Grade Levels

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Grade 9

Excerpt

This worksheet gives students an opportunity to practice identifying and analyzing allusions. Allusions broaden the scope of a text and imbue passages with deeper meaning by subtly drawing on unexplained references to literature, history, science, geography, philosophy, mythology, or other aspects of a culture. Allusions are thus a powerful tool often employed by writers and are well worth understanding. In completing this worksheet, students will be able to identify, analyze, and interpret allusions, thereby accessing deeper meanings within the text.

While Washington Irving’s short story “Rip Van Winkle” was published in 1819, it is set firmly in the years surrounding the American Revolution. As the story itself—which tells  of a hard-pressed farmer’s 20-year sleep in the Catskill mountains—doesn’t directly engage with the events of the Revolution, Irving turns to allusion to frame the historical and cultural context of Rip’s adventure. Irving’s use of allusion, both overt and subtle, allows the relatively simple narrative to invoke broad themes encompassing personal and national identity, and one’s placement in the narrative of history.

Skills: analysis, close reading, drawing inferences from text, interpreting implications of allusions

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • identify different types of allusions and locate examples of allusion within a text;
  • analyze examples of allusions to determine their purpose in the context of a passage of text;
  • analyze examples of allusions to interpret their meaning and determine how they inform a passage of text.

About

Our eNotes Classroom Activities give students opportunities to practice developing a variety of skills. Whether analyzing literary devices or interpreting connotative language, students will work directly with the text. The main components of our classroom activities include the following:

  • A handout defining the literary elements under discussion, complete with examples
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An answer key or selected examples for reference, depending on the activity

In completing these classroom activities, students will be able to classify and analyze different literary elements, thereby developing close-reading skills and drawing deeper inferences from the text.