Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories


rip van wrinkle is an early work that casts the american woman as the cultural villain. analyze the chracter of Dame Van wrinkle in the story and discuss the signigicance irving attributes to her death.


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Dame Van Winkle is certainly the antagonist in this story. She is constantly berating Rip Van Winkle, whom everyone else in the neighborhood adores. She is a completely flat character—we only ever see her worst side, except for the one comment made after she has died that she always kept the house in good order. Her criticism of her husband, if far too strong, is nevertheless deserved. He has completely failed in his role as husband, father, and breadwinner, leaving his family in near ruin. The husband is an extreme form of deadbeat and the wife an extreme form of nagging and henpecking, a state of affairs which appears to be a lesson and warning for Irving’s male and female readers alike. The husbands should learn to be more industrious and attentive, and the wives should learn to be less antagonistic and more understanding lest they drive their husbands further away.