What are the supernatural elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

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The major supernatural event in "Rip Van Winkle" is Rip's falling asleep for twenty years. We are prepared for this when Rip, on one of his rambles, meets mysterious people in a secluded section of the Catskills, wearing old-fashioned Dutch clothing. Rip has entered a supernatural realm in which the normal operations of time have been altered and time has apparently been drastically slowed down. In another instance of the supernatural, when Rip awakes, his Dutch companions and everything associated with them has disappeared, suggesting that he has re-entered "normal" time.  

We should note that the tale is, in part, based on European folklore, and that the dreamlike supernatural segment is perhaps the most vividly described part of the story. The tale is, in fact, a hybrid of an Old World fairy tale and a realistic story about the birth of a new nation based on republican principles that "wake it up" from a stupor.

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The story of Rip van Winkle takes a turn for the supernatural when the title character encounters strange men, dressed in antiquated traditional Dutch attire, playing nine-pins in a secluded area in the mountains. The men, who remind Rip of "the figures in an old Flemish painting," are mysterious and completely out of place, and maintain a grim silence even as they amuse themselves by bowling:

...[T]hey maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence; and they were, withal, the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rolling peals of thunder.

It is after witnessing this surreal scene that Rip takes a drink of the men's liquor, whichobviously has some sort of magical properties, as it puts Rip to sleep for twenty years.  This magical event serves as the turning point of the entire story, as Rip awakes to find that everything in his world has changed.

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What are the Romantic elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

It is important to define what some of the elements of romanticism are so that we can properly analyze this work. Romanticism was fascinated with the beauty and mystery of nature while also exhibiting a strong sense of nostalgia and an attitude of clinging to the past. Additionally, the supernatural comes into play fairly often in romantic literature.

The supernatural element of this story is clearly the most obvious, as Van Winkle falls into a dreamless sleep for decades after partying with seemingly ageless men in the mountains near his town. He awakes, having not aged but having been forgotten by those around him.

The story also includes a fair amount of awe at the beauty of nature. There is a great amount of information provided about the mountains surrounding Van Winkle's town—the Catskill Mountains. They are described in overly majestic terms, showing a respect and admiration of the natural beauty of the region.

Finally, the most thematic element of the story is the nostalgia and respect of the past. Van Winkle is a relatively lazy individual, but when he wakes up from his slumber, he realizes that the world has changed drastically and is no longer the place that he loved and cared about. Because of these drastic changes, he vows to work harder and become someone who can preserve society as it should be.

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What are the Romantic elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

One of the hallmarks of Romanticism that has not been mentioned is the focus on the ordinary person. In contrast to neoclassicism, with its emphasis on the heroes of Ancient Greece and Rome, Romantic writers liked to focus on the common man.

In "Rip Van Winkle," Rip is an ordinary, everyday person. He does not have any special heroic virtues to set him apart from other humans. In fact, this happy-go-lucky figure is a bit of a failure in life. He is happy to live day-by-day without showing much initiative or desire for change. He neglects his farm and his children. All the same, he is treated with good-natured sympathy. 

Although ordinary, Rip undergoes an extraordinary, supernatural experience when he encounters what seem to be seventeenth-century figures who give him beer that puts him to sleep for twenty years. This encounter with the supernatural is also a characteristic of Romanticism, which wanted to challenge the stark empiricism of eighteenth-century rationality. 

The story is told in simple language, another hallmark of Romanticism. The language may not seem simple to us, but it is simple in the sense that it avoids allusions to classical literature. A person who has not spent years studying Latin and Greek can easily follow what is going in this plot about an everyday person who wakes up to find his home territory changed from a British colony to an independent nation.

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What are the Romantic elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

Another Romantic element in "Rip Van Winkle" is its use of the supernatural. The Catskill Mountains seem supernatural in their majesty. They are described in the following way: "Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains." The mountains clearly have an element of the mysterious and magical about them, and Rip descends from the mountains to a glen where he is taken back in time. This glen is also suffused with elements of the supernatural and is described in the following way:

"On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun."

The glen is lonely and dark, imbued with Romanticism and a sense of mystery. The setting of the story is also, as the other entries have noted, a place that inspires a sense of awe in the beauty and mystery of nature. In this magical place, Rip van Winkle is able to be transported back in time, and he also becomes out of joint with the passing of time. Therefore, elements of the supernatural are at work. 

Another element of Romanticism in this story is its use of folklore. The story is told by the fictional Diedrich Knickerbocker, who is a scholar of Dutch folklore. The story features elements of folklore in its tale of a simple farmer, and it calls on folklore from Europe in its themes and characters. 

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What are the Romantic elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

In Washington Irving's descriptions, there are evident certain elements of Romanticism:

The awe for the beauty of nature

In his descriptions of the resplendent Catskills Mountains, Irving elevates them and the other elements of nature with personification:

[van Winkle] threw himself...on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that cowned the brow of a precipice.  From an opening...he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland.  He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple coud, or the sail of a lagging bark here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

The Dream, or the inner world of the individual

The use of the visionary, fantastic, or drug-induced imagery characteristic of Romanticism introduces Rip van Winkle's dream.  He is greeted by a

a short, square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair and a grizzled beard.  His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion, a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist, several pair of breeches...He bore on his shoulder a stout keg that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach.

Van Winkle drinks from this keg and then in his inebriated state, he sees "a company of odd-looking personages playing at ninepins" whose faces are odd.  The group remindes Rip of the characters in old Flemish paintings.  Oddly, the little people are amusing themselves, but they maintained serious faces and a "mysterious" silence.  As he becomes drugged by the contents of the flagon, Rip van Winkle falls asleep for twenty years.  When he awakens, Rip's inner world does not match what he sees.  No traces of the amphitheater are there or the little men.  And as he approaches the village he is met by strangers.

A nostalgia for the past

After Rip van Winkle enter the village, he finds it much altered.  The old inn is replaced by the Union Hotel with its tall naked pole from which a strange flag flies.  The usual picture of King George was replaced by another visage, that of General Washington.

There was as usual a crowd of folk about the door, but none that Rip recollected.  The very character of people seemed changed.  There was a busy, bustling disputatious tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy tranquility.

Disturbed by all the changes, Rip van Winkle yearns for the old desultory colonial days where he and Van Bummel the schoolmaster sat around and echanged stories.

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What are the Romantic elements in "Rip Van Winkle"?

One of the most important Romantic ideals included in this story is the idea of individual freedom. When the story first opens, Rip Van Winkle is henpecked by his wife and, although he seems amiable enough, nothing he ever does seems to suit her. After he falls asleep for 20 years, he wakes up in a time when his wife is dead, he can live with his daughter, and do pretty much as he pleases. In addition, his village is no longer subject to British control, but the Revolutionary War has made him a free citizen of the United States. Nature also plays an important role in the story. Rip Van Winkle is out in nature when he sees the party of men in a meadow and that's where he seems to have fallen asleep. Nature has kept his safe for 20 years. After waking up, he is still free to enjoy nature and the beauty if affords.

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Identify three key elements of Romanticism in Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

Romanticism was a reaction against what the Romantic writers saw as the excessive rationalism of the Augustan or Neoclassic Age of eighteenth century literature. The Romantics sought to tell supernatural folk tales, celebrate the common person, and reveal the beauty and divinity of nature. Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" does all three.

At the heart of the story is a supernatural event: wandering alone in the Catskills, Rip meets up with people in the forest, apparently ghostly seventeenth century Dutch, who give him a beer that puts him to sleep for twenty years. When he awakes, his world has entirely changed. This long sleep is not explained, but we accept it as a fact.

Second, Rip is a very ordinary person, not a general, a statesmen, or hero. He bumps along in life in a haphazard way, with little ambition and little to show for his life. While he is treated with more comic humor than would be typical of a Romantic writing about a common man, he is also rendered with some sympathy--and, more importantly, Irving celebrates the energy and talent of the ordinary people who are galvanized by the freedom and participatory nature of the new United States at the end of the story.

Finally, Irving describes the beauty of the Catskills and the simple village in which Rip lives, showing both in a positive light. For example, he writes of the Catskills:

When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.

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Identify three key elements of Romanticism in Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

"Rip Van Winkle," by Washington Irving, is one of the first works written in the Romantic Movement in America. Three of the elements in the story which classify it as romantic are its supernatural elements, its adherence to the principle of individualism, and its reliance on Nature.

Of course the story contains supernatural elements. A strangely dressed little man motions Rip Van Winkle to follow him; since the man has something to drink, Rip follows the small Dutchman to an amphitheater, of sorts. Here he finds a group of other little strangely dressed Dutchmen who are playing ninepins (bowling). The sound of the pins is like thunder, and Rip serves the men (and himself) the drink--all without one word being spoken. Whatever he drinks causes Rip to sleep for twenty years. This series of fantastical events certainly qualifies as supernatural.

This story also celebrates the value of the individual. Rip does exactly what he wants to do in this story. Unfortunately, all he wants to do is nothing, which is why his wife nags at him constantly. Nevertheless, he ignores her and does what he wishes. Everyone in town loves Rip and despise his rule-following, constricting, and nagging wife.

Certain it is that he was a great favorite among all the goodwives of the village, who took his part in all family squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighborhood.

It is his attempt to be free of any constraints which prompts Rip to go to the forest on that day; his commitment to individualism is what prompts his adventure and changes his life. 

Finally, Rip's story cannot happen without the element of Nature. It is in the forest that all these events happen; the supernatural elements are always found connected to Nature in the Romantic Movement, and that is true here, as well. 

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Identify three key elements of Romanticism in Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

Here are two elements of Romanticism in "Rip van Winkle":

1. A key element is the Romantic lyricism of Irving's descriptions of the Kaatskill Mountains.

They are possessive of

...magical hues and shapes....When the weather is fair and settled they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outline on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory

Here is evinced the offering of nature's beauty with the opportunity to escape the conventions of the town and encounter what the Romantics termed the "sublime," a sensation that transcends the mundane, one that is spiritual as the individual is in communion with Nature. Rip van Winkle is representative of the Romantic as he retreats to nature and "scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains...and the still solitudes...on a green knoll." 

2. Another key element is that of the author's Romantic nostalgia.

Dame van Winkle, on the other hand, prefigures the bustling, "disputatious" tone of the new world to which Rip confusedly returns after twenty years. In the final scenes when Rip feels so out of place, Irving satirizes the post-revolutionary scene. For, the Romantic Irving expresses a nostalgia for the earlier times of calm and the natural beauty of the colonial village.

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Identify three key elements of Romanticism in Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" was published in 1819, during the Romantic period (1789-1832). Texts of the Romantic period illuminated the importance of the individual, nature, the supernatural, and dreams. During this period, many authors and poets saw such a draw by nature that they moved from the cities into the countryside.

"Rip Van Winkle" contains many different Romantic characteristics. First, Rip decides to leave the chaotic city for the peace of nature. Rip finds himself simply walking off into the woods. In the woods, he finds himself "at the foot of [the] fairy mountains." At one point, Rip tells some children stories of ghosts and witches. This illustrates the characteristic of the supernatural.

Lastly, Rip awakes to find that everything he has experienced has been a dream. Rip even "revisits" the village where he told the children stories. No one knows him. This last element illuminates the Romantic nature of Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

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Identify a key element of Romanticism in "Rip Van Winkle."

One key element of Romanticism in "Rip Van Winkle" is the supernatural. Along with appreciating nature, Romantic writers pushed back against Enlightenment rationalism; they felt that it was a disservice to cut out the wit and wisdom inherent in whimsy and fairytale. For example, Coleridge (a seminal Romantic poet) wrote about the supernatural in poems such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The "Rip Van Winkle" plot pivots on supernatural elements. We are asked to suspend our disbelief (one of Coleridge's ideas!) and accept that Rip stumbles into a liminal space while on one of his walks in the Catskills. It is in this space where Rip encounters supernatural people (perhaps the ghosts of early Dutch settlers), who give him a drink that puts him to sleep for twenty years. Accepting this fantastic plot point is essential to understanding Washington Irving's story.

Irving's description of the liminal "deep mountain glen"—scarcely lit with the rays of the setting sun—and the people Rip meets there is the most image-rich section of the story, showing a Romantic fascination with the wonder and poetry of the supernatural:

They were dressed in a quaint, outlandish fashion; some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enormous breeches, of similar style with that of the guide's. Their visages, too, were peculiar: one had a large head, broad face, and small, piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. They all had beards, of various shapes and colors.

Through the device of Rip's long sleep, Irving is able to document the many changes that occur in America during a twenty-year span.

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Identify a key element of Romanticism in "Rip Van Winkle."

One central aspect that you need to focus on is the way that nature is treated in this excellent short story. Apart from the elements of the supernatural and the other aspectscommon to Romanticism, there is a definite theme of the natural world in this story. Rip van Winkle's "escape" from the crowded city into nature, where he experiences a massive life change, is a recurrent motif in Romanticism. It is the domestic strife that Rip suffers that drives him away from the town, the symbol of civilisation and stress, and into the woods, which Rip seems to do quite a bit. He clearly experiences peace and relief whilst "in nature" and contemplating its beauty:

From an opening between the trees he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud or the sail of a lagging bark here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

It is of course whilst in nature that Rip is called into the "wild, lonely and shagged" mountain glen where he experiences his prolonged sleep and repose, emerging into a very different world. Thus, the beauty of nature and how it provides succour to the soul, overwhelmed by the stresses and strains of life in the city, are key elements in Romantic fiction and this aspect is certainly to be found in this great short story.

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What are three elements of romanticism in "Rip Van Winkle"?

As noted by the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental."

Romantic thinkers often showed "a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature" as well as "a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect." They also were interested in folklore, ethnic cultural origins, and the supernatural.

The previous answer addresses some of these elements in Rip Van Winkle. Here are some others.

An interest in folklore and ethnic cultural origins

The story begins in a setting that was historic and nostalgic for Irving's contemporary audience. Whereas the story was published in 1819, Rip appears to start his adventure some time before the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, in a small, Dutch village in the Catskill Mountains. And the plot is reminiscent of several folktales, including Peter Klaus, the German folk tale that is believed to have been Irving's inspiration.

In addition, there are elements within the story that represent old cultural traditions even to Rip. When he leaves home, Rip encounters a strange little man dressed in the "antique Dutch fashion." He introduces Rip to a group of similar throw-backs, and we are told that the "whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old Flemish painting." At the end of the story, their status as creatures from folk stories is confirmed:

"He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor the historian, that the Catskill Mountains had always been haunted by strange beings."

The importance of personal feelings, sensory experience, and spontaneity

Rip has "a strong dislike of all kinds of profitable labor," but he nonetheless spends long hours hunting and fishing. He appears to be motivated by the sensory enjoyment of these activities, not economics, and his efforts are highly inefficient, as when he would "sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble."

This brings him into conflict with his wife, who represents are more practical, materialistic point of view.

"If left to himself, he would have whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ear about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family."

Note that this isn't merely a question of hating work. It's also a reflection of Rip's preference for letting the intuition take over. When he goes on his walk, he does so without a conscious sense of where he was going:

"In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Catskill Mountains."

This is spontaneity, not rational calculation.

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What are three elements of romanticism in "Rip Van Winkle"?

1. The story is about individual freedom. At the beginning, Rip wants to be free to converse with his neighbors and spend time fishing and hunting, but his wife is always nagging him to work on their farm. By the end of the story, Rip's wife is dead and Rip is able to enjoy being free of her tyranny.

2. Nature plays an important role in the story. Rip falls asleep in the middle of a clearing in the forest. This event is what frees him from the tyranny of everyday life because when he awakens, many of the things which bound him are either gone or dead.

3. The supernatural also plays a large role in the story. Evidently, it is the men of explorer Henry Hudson who lure Rip into the hollow of the forest. These men have supposedly been dead a long time, and they never speak to Rip. However, they do motion to him to drink from their liquor and that causes him to fall asleep for 20 years. The supernatural plays a large role in many romantic stories and Rip's story would be impossible unless something supernatural occurs to make it possible for him to sleep for 20 years and survive.

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