Imagery in Rip Van Winkle
Imagery is employed specifically in “Rip Van Winkle” to align readers’ experiences with Rip’s. The rich and evocative language describing the sights and sounds of the woods is a product of the story’s placement in the Romantic tradition, which used descriptions of the natural world to isolate and contextualize the relative smallness of the human experience. Similarly, the aspects of village life that receive such detailed attention are the ones most unfamiliar or jarring to Rip himself, such as the industrialized metaphors defining his relationship with his wife. This focused use of imagery places Rip’s narrative within what is implied to be a much larger context, supporting its construction as a piece of regional folklore.
Imagery Examples in Rip Van Winkle:
Rip Van Winkle🔒
"surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which impending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky, and the bright evening cloud..." See in text (Rip Van Winkle)
"she would spin light summer clouds out of cobwebs and morning dew, and send them off from the crest of the mountain, flake after flake, like flakes of carded cotton..." See in text (Rip Van Winkle)
"a different fashion from that to which he was accustomed..." See in text (Rip Van Winkle)
"a deep ravine, or rather cleft between lofty rocks..." See in text (Rip Van Winkle)