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Washington Irving is a well acclaimed American writer. The man was born in 1783 on 3rd April. He was a young boy who was born sickly but already by this age his adventurous nature had stated to show. He was named after George Washington the first president of the United States of America. He was the son of Dutch immigrants who were good people who often took care of the people afflicted by the war. Irving as a child was a very mischievous boy who would sneak out at night to go and see the city. Due to his ill health he went to England for treatment. When the man returned he was better and he was a lawyer at the time of return. He went back to Europe again during the war where he stayed until the war was over. He wrote a book when he was away and the book was accepted by the American citizenry very well (Irving 11).
In his book rip van winkle there is a man the main character named Rip van winkle he is a married man with many habits but he is quite lazy and idle. Dame van winkle his wife has many times subjected him to arguments over his lazy nature (Irving 13). He has a son whose name is rip and then there is wolf rip van winkles faithful dog. On one of the fine days rip van winkle decides to take a walk up the mountain with his dog wolf. As he is going up the mountain a man calls his name and he turns back to look. When he looks he sees a man carrying a keg up the mountain and he decides to help the man. As they walk up the mountain with the keg they don’t exchange words, they walk all the way to the top of the mountain where they find a group of Dutch men playing a game of nine pins.
All the men know rip but rip does not recognize any of them. Rip does not talk to any of the men but he proceeds to secretly drink their keg (Irving 15). He falls asleep and when he wakes up he finds that the men are not there, his beard has grown and his dog wolf is no longer by his side. He runs down the mountain to go to his wife but all he finds on the other end is somber news that his wife is dead. He encounters another man also named rip van winkle he doesn’t understand what is going on at all. He falls into more trouble when he declares his loyalty to king George he finds out that it is years after the war and president Washington is now the supreme in America. Rip moves in with his daughter and continues with his idle lifestyle. Most men envy him ad wish they could have sleepy soundly through the war like rip got to do.
Irvin has also written other stories like the legend of sleepy hollow. In this story the main character is Ichabod Crane a lean lackey and extremely superstitious man from Connecticut. He competes with Brom Bones the town rowdy for the hand of the town sweetheart Katrina van tassel. As the main Ichabod comes from a party at the van tassel home one evening he is pursued by a headless horseman. The headless horseman is in this story a ghost who was a soldier in the American war and lost his head to a cannon ball in a nameless battle. The horseman now rides in pursuit of his head. Ichabod disappears mysteriously from town. The story does not go as far as to tell us who the headless horseman is but it implies that it was Brom Bones (Irving 18).
He has also written the Spector bridegroom. It is yet another ghost story though it is told with a kind of happy ending. Where the niece is happy having found enough blood and flesh. In this story there is a baron who is the richest and said to be the wisest man in the lands the baron has but one daughter. A beautiful daughter who is said to be the most beautiful in the land, his daughter is guided into woman hood by two women and two of his aunties are responsible for her behavior. The baron was satisfied with all nature had given him and when the time came he and a far away friend had arranged that his young daughter was to be married to a certain groom. A young man count von Altenburg had been awarded this position and was recalled from the army for this very reason (Irving 18). He was on his way to come and take the bride but he was detained. The count on his way died due to an unfortunate incident and with his last breath he asked his friend go give word of his demise that he would have made it to the castle to take his bride had it not been for the unfortunate event of his death. The story at its ending is perfectly happy but the bridegroom died and she couldn’t have her so desired wedding.
It is a good example of the writers approach to writing because it depicts what the writer was best known for writing (Irving 18). He was a writer who wrote short stories the best and he was good at showing off the culture he had learnt from the English and other people in his stories which is exactly what the stories here are showing. These stories all depict the author’s autobiography in many ways. First the author’s tendency to write stories about faraway lands can be attributed to his part of life that was lived in the lands far away from his own motherlands. In rip van winkle he might not have expressly written about the Dutch lands but the culture the story depicts is that of the Dutch with the games and even the names of the characters. This follows in all the other stories. The fact that he is writing about the Dutch can be attributed to his parents being Dutch. It was the culture he had been raised in and the culture he understood best.
It is worth noticing that by this time American culture was still developing and there had not been established a common precedent on what the culture was to be like (Irving 19). He also wrote most of the time or at least in the stories cited about a man leaving or coming back from a distant place. In van winkle if was a deep sleep that created the distance, in sleepy hollow it was mysterious disappearance and in Spector bridegroom the man was to come from a far away land. The men in his stories just like him never stay in the same place not until the very end just like him when he settled in Sunnyside New York. Also just like him when the men come back from where they were they are accepted with open arms like heroes.
The works of the man have a theme to them in that in all his stories used in this essay there is the occurrence of ghosts (Irving 19). There also is a theme of love and something that is lost that can never be found or given back. In rip van winkle the poor man looses time in his life and his wife dies. In sleepy hollow a man has lost his head and is in the relentless pursuit to find it and the main character is forever lost of his chance to love the woman he desires when he is run out of town by the headless horseman. In Spector bride losses her groom to death and the groom losses his life in all the stories the theme of loss is apparent.
The stories are stories of men who lived their lives with freedom and who were men of their word (Irving 26). The men depicted in the stories are men who have both fortune and misfortune it is a show of life as it is and not of life as it should be. This stories better show the state of life at the times they were written. Living by the day and chasing after what looked right to a person. The stories are of those times that the commoner had first experienced true freedom. It is only in one story where we see a compromise to the loss that is suffered and that is in Specters bridegroom. Also in all the stories there is a theme of war where it is all written in or shortly after war time. Or in the case of rip van winkle before and after war time it is probably because during the time this book was written there was war (Irving 44).
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