Rip Van Winkle Metaphor Activity

by eNotes

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

Grade 10

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9


This activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing metaphors. Metaphors express images, emotions, actions, experiences, and nuances through direct and indirect comparisons, allowing readers to access deeper levels of meaning in the text. In this activity, students will classify and analyze different kinds of metaphors in order to develop close reading skills and draw inferences from the text.

Washington Irving published his short story “Rip Van Winkle” in his now-classic 1819 collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Like many of the stories in the Sketch Book, “Rip Van Winkle” takes place among the Dutch villages of the Hudson River Valley of New York. The story follows the titular Rip—an idle but affable farmer—as he wanders off into the woods, imbibes liquor with a group of carousing men, falls into a deep sleep, and awakens twenty years later, having missed the Revolutionary War. Irving brings to the story his facility for metaphor, which he uses to enrich his descriptions of the landscapes of the Hudson River and the Catskill mountains as well as the lively people who inhabit them.

Skills: analysis, drawing inferences from text, close reading, identifying the relationship between words

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • examine metaphors in a text;
  • classify metaphors in a text as direct and indirect;
  • analyze metaphors by focusing on the two things being compared and interpreting how one of them is described through the comparison.


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.