Rip Van Winkle Setting: Importance & Analysis

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Meaning & Moral Of Rip Van Winkle

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Setting
  • 0:26 The Catskill Mountains
  • 1:10 The Hudson River
  • 2:13 The 1700s in New York
  • 2:53 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In some stories, the setting isn't very important. However, in the story 'Rip Van Winkle,' the setting is very important to the story. Complete this lesson to find out why this story couldn't have happened in any other setting.

Setting

A story's setting includes both the time and the place that the tale takes place. The story ''Rip Van Winkle'' by Washington Irving is set in the mid-1700s, before the American Revolution in an unnamed village in New York in the Catskill Mountains. You might not think the time and place the story happened are important, but in ''Rip Van Winkle,'' the story couldn't have happened in any other setting.

The Catskill Mountains

The Catskill Mountains play an important role in the story. The author calls them a ''region full of fable,'' which means there are many tales about strange happenings in the Catskills. Irving also said that the Native Americans who lived in the area ''considered them the abode of spirits...''

The Catskill Mountains are a mysterious place, which makes them a perfect setting for a story in which ghosts appear, play games of ninepins, and drink liquor! There must be magic at work or how could Rip sleep for 20 years and wake up unharmed?

Irving also wrote that the ''old Dutch settlements'' in the mountains were ''very subject to marvellous events and appearances,'' and that the story of Rip Van Winkle wasn't the strangest one he'd heard! Irving has been quoted as saying that the Catskills ''bewitched his boyish imagination.''

The Hudson River

The strange men that Rip met on the mountain were identified by Peter Vanderdonk as Henry Hudson and the crew of his ship, the Half-moon. Henry Hudson was one of the earliest Europeans to explore the area that is now upstate New York. Hudson and his crew went about 150 miles up a river before they realized that it wasn't going to be a new path to the Pacific Ocean. This river was named the Hudson River.

On a later voyage, Hudson's men became upset with him and left Hudson and his son floating in a small boat in Hudson Bay, while they took the large ship back home. No one knows what became of Hudson, so he makes a perfect ghost for Irving's story.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support