Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories


Discuss several different ways in which "rip van wrinkle " addresses verions of the American dream.

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The protagonist of “Rip Van Winkle” seems completely antithetical to the American work ethic that is said to make Americans work toward the American Dream of prosperity, the possibility of raising oneself above where one was born through hard work. Rip instead loses much of what his family worked for, through pure indolence, and he shows absolutely no ambition, except an ambition to do nothing as long as he can. This life ends up working out for Rip, but the morality of the tale does not condone it, for Rip only ends up in better straits with the help of magic, which makes him sleep through his working years long enough to enjoy his undeserved retirement. In this way he is an American anti-hero who enjoys the American fantasy of a life of leisure, not the American Dream.