Throughout “Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving creates a feature of a henpecked husband, Rip, who goes to the mountain to avoid his wife, but finds that he has slept for twenty years and wakes after the American Revolution.
While reading “Rip Van Winkle”, I found that it goes through in a comical way. What attracted me most is that there are some points very similar to Chinese stories, such as the henpecked characteristic and the time change. At first, it seems to me that I am reading a funny Chinese story! In addition, when I read it second time, I found that besides “comicality”, there are many serious political metaphors in the story: “‘Rip Van Winkle’ especially offers political satire masked in the form of entertainment” (Michelle Hornick).
To my surprise, under such a comical plot, there also exits some political metaphors whether are images or satire. Therefore, this paper discusses the political metaphors in the story.
Totally speaking, this story is divided into two parts, before and after Rip’s twenty-year nap in the Kaatskill Mountains, roughly between 1760s and 1780s. In other words, we can say that the American Revolution divides it into two parts. It is interesting that Rip sleeps through the American Revolution; after him waking, he faces many social changes in the society, which make him confused, and this is the central clue of the whole story.
Before Rip’s nap, which is before the American Revolution, America is dominated by England. Americans do not have the freedom of politics. It is much more like a quiet rural place. However, after revolution, America is independent and has its own political rights. Above are the general backgrounds of the story. What is more important, the political metaphors in “Rip Van Winkle” are expanded around these concepts.
I consider that the relationship between Rip and his wife, Dame Van Winkle, really acts like an independent war, just as Wr...