How do descriptive words like "magical," "fairy," and "noble" in the introduction prepare readers for "Rip Van Winkle"?

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In the first paragraph of "Rip Van Winkle," Washington Irving uses specific language to set up the magical tale that is to follow. He lets his readers know right away that they are in for something fantastic and delightful. Let's see how Irving's words show us this.


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mountains soar to a “noble height,” we are told as the story begins. This gets our minds ready for something high, something out of the ordinary. These mountains are also “lording” it over the countryside. The mountains are a place outside the realm of daily activity. When a person enters into them, they might just experience something unusual, something far above normal human life, and this is exactly what will happen to Rip Van Winkle.

The seasons and sunlight produce “magical hues” on these mountains. They are, in fact, “fairy mountains,” and the light glows upon them like a “crown of glory.” Here the author introduces the realm of the supernatural and magical. He subtly sets up the story to come by presenting the mountains as a place where anything can happen, even something most unexpected. A trip into the mountains removes a person from one world, the world of daily living, and inserts them into another. Again, this is exactly what is going to happen to Rip Van Winkle, and through the author's word choice, we readers get a taste of what is to come right in the tale's first paragraph.

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