Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another book review.

Title: Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories.

Author: Washington Irving.

Synopsis:
"Rip Van Winkle" is about a man who had a nagging wife. One day, Rip goes up into the mountains to get away from his wife. He follows a strange man carrying a barrel and ends up drinking some of the substance inside. Rip then falls asleep for 20 years, sleeping through the entire Revolutionary War! When Rip wakes up he returns to his villiage to find that many years have past and his wife has died.
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" follows Ichabod Crane the pedagogue (teacher) of a small town. Ichabod is long and lanky and loves to eat. He also loves ghost stories and spooks. And a girl named Katrina. Since Katrina is the prettiest girl in the villiage and her father the richest farmer, she has many men after her heart. The strongest man is Brom Bones, the hunk of the villiage. Ichabod is no match to Brom Bones in strength, but in mind he has the advantage. When everyone is invited to a party at Katrina's father's farm, Ichabod stole the dancing floor and also heard one too many ghost stories... One that particularly frightened him was the tale of the Headless Horseman, said to be a dead British officer whose head was lost in the Revolutionary War. He rides every night looking for a head. When Ichabod rides home after the party he has to go through Sleepy Hollow, where the horseman rides every night. Will the spook show up or will Ichabod get home alright?
"The Spectre Bridegroom." A duchess is to be married to a man to connect the two kingdoms. But when the bridegroom is killed on his way to meet the bride, his friend poses as him.
"The Pride of the Villiage" is about a girl who falls in love with a man who then leaves her. She dies from a broken heart.
"Mountjoy" is a seemingly unfinished story about a man who learns about learning and love.

My Rating: 8/10

Why I liked the story: Some descriptions are lush and seem to drag on, even though they are brilliant (Lord of the Rings). Washington Irving's description is lush, gorgeous, and funny. Most of his stories are description, but they are so wonderful that you hardly notice.
Here is the first sentences of Rip Van Winkle (one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I think I've ever read):
Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Catskill Mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, prodces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will father a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.
I wish I could write like that... His description is my favorite part of the stories.
I also really like how his sort stories seem like such bigger things than they really are. Washington Irving was truly a great short story writer.
Lots of great vocabulary words!

Why I disliked the story/things you should know: Mountjoy isn't completed! It leaves you hanging! You don't know whether Harry goes back to studying or ignores the old man's advice! What about Julia? Do they fall in love?? And why is she only 15? Anyway, that was a let down.
I didn't really get anything from Rip Van Winkle... He was a lazy man whose wife had every right to nag him, yet that was portrayed as a bad thing. Sure, we shouldn't nag people... But we also shouldn't be lazy and not do our work. Falling asleep for 20 years to wake up and find all your problems dead and gone doesn't seem like the right solution....
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow may be scary to some.
I found the whole Pride of the Villiage story a bit weak and cliche and ridiculous... A lot like Marianne and Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility. But at the same time it was sad and a bit beautiful... Warning girls to not fall in love without God, perhaps?

Will I read it again? Yes. Actually, I'm re-reading Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow already because it's my assignment for literature class.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! I think it is a good book for any aspiring author to read, so they can see the different writing style and creative descriptive language the author uses.

Live long and prosper!

2 comments:

  1. I've always been fascinated with those first two stories -- Rip van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow. I haven't read the other two, but they do sound interesting. Aside from the one that isn't finished! How disappointing!

    A lot of classic older books have wonderful, wonderful passages of vivid description. It makes me despair a little bit that I'll ever be good enough to write like that :P

    I'm glad there's someone else out there who enjoys older literature.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read Rip Van Winkle once...and almost fell asleep during it myself. I want to read Sleepy Hallow, have for years, just yet t get to it. Slow me.

    I've yet to see the third E-lock. I'm hoping to tonight so I don't get behind and they take it off before I see it.

    I tried to read Wentworth's book but couldn't get into it. Maybe I will try Knightley's. He sounds like someone I would like more.

    My sister and I disliked Donna until about the middle of The Runaway Bride, then we wanted her to stay. We were very happy she came back. I dislike her ending though, a lot. I won't say why till you see it, but I think it is the saddest out of them all.

    OH!!! If you find a TARDIS and go back to London pick me up please? I would have LOVED to see the convention thing!!!!!!!!!!! I bet it was fun!!! It sounds like Captain Jack is fun in real life. I think he and DT had a ton of fun filming together.

    And now...

    Allons-y!

    ReplyDelete