Tone in Rip Van Winkle
Irving employs contrasting tones throughout “Rip Van Winkle,” partially in support of the different authorial identities he adopts. Geoffrey Crayon is academic in his approach, contextualizing the work of historian Diedrich Knickerbocker in a sardonic tone. Knickerbocker’s language, recording the story itself, ranges more widely from vivid visual descriptions of the Catskills to more casual colloquialisms describing village life. The overall effect sets a humorous story conversationally against a highly literary backdrop, combining some of the hallmarks of the oral tradition (out of which Rip’s story is purported to derive) with the weight of the mythological tradition Irving wants to construct for the United States.