Just like many other great works such as The Great Gatsby, a novel in which F. Scott Fitzgerald used his characters to show the corruption of the American Dream, Irving used his characters to show his ideals as a romantic. The main character in this story, Rip Van Winkle, was himself an embodiment of the notion of Romantic freedom. He is described as, “one of those happy mortals of foolish, well oiled dispositions… and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.” (pg.156) This is exactly what Romantics thought life should be about, living a life free of work and being content with what you have. The story also emphasizes another important Romantic theme, with Rip Van Winkle often going into nature to “escape from the labor of the farm and clamor of his wife…” (pg.157) In this case the escape from his wife would represent the Romantics’ escape from an industrialized and clamored society.


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