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Rip Van Wrinkle

            The story of Rip Van Winkle is classified as a German folktale. It contains numerous elements such as a journey of going 20 years into the future. The use of supernatural, the truth to the unknown, and various encounters made with the townspeople. This story also portrays Rip as a hero at the end. Nevertheless, since the tale displays all these characteristics of what a folk tale is, it is therefore a prominent example of one. A folktale is a term for all types of narrative literature found in oral traditions of the world. They are heard and remembered, and are subjected to various alterations in the course of retelling. Nevertheless, an essential trait of folktales is their diffusion, and their passage from one generation to another, by word of mouth.
             Two of the elements in folklore is the use of supernatural and journey. Rip went on an adventure up the Kaatskill Mountains. The adventure consisted of some unusual happenings especially meeting up with the supernatural. The first element of a folktale ties into the second element - the supernatural. Irving displayed this when Rip met up with a ghost. .
             Irving's narrations of folk legends and his use of supernatural in this story are characteristics that makes his work unique to others. In "Rip Van Winkle" the story exemplifies the elements that make up a folktale. When Rip returns from his twenty year "journey" few people recognize him. The conclusion illustrates a hero's strength in a society; the elaborate recognition scene is another attribute of a folktale. .
             "Rip Van Winkle" establishes all the elements of an 18th Century folk tale. Rip is a hero in everyone's heart. He lived through his twenty-year journey, and when he returned and no one recognized him he still remained strong and determined to find his true identity. The issue of identity was pertinent. Winkle searched for his own fate and what had become of him. He also pursues his name and wonders who he actually is.

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