What are the themes explored by Irving through the story of Rip Van Wrinkle?

A major theme is change with continuity and preservation of tradition. After Rip awakens from his prolonged slumber and goes back to his village, he does not recognize anyone. he is unfamiliar even with their fashions and customs. The village has undergone a remarkable change with rows of houses, all new. His own house is in a dilapidated state. The inn has changed to a hotel. His wife and old friends are dead. There have been larger changes. After the American revolution a new country has emerged. It is only the Hudson river and the Caskill mountains that have remained unchanged during Kip’s sleep.

On the other hand an old man and an old man Peter Vanderdonk recgnise him and testify to the truth of Rip’s tale about the nine pin bowlers from the mountains. The main theme of the

story emerges here. Inspite of radical changes, old traditions cannot be eradicated entirely and the new society is always a combination of the old and the new. There is also continuity. Family lines as in the case of Rip, his son and grandson remain alive and thriving.

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