Rip Van Winkle

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Derrick Van Bummel Character Analysis

Derrick Van Bummel is the schoolmaster. He is an educated and articulate man who eagerly participates in earnest discussions of the news contained in old, outdated newspapers with other townspeople at the inn. He becomes a great militia general in the war and, after the war, eventually becomes a member of Congress.

Derrick Van Bummel Quotes in Rip Van Winkle

The Rip Van Winkle quotes below are all either spoken by Derrick Van Bummel or refer to Derrick Van Bummel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tyranny vs. Freedom Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Rip Van Winkle published in 1999.
“Rip Van Winkle” Quotes

How solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapper, learned little man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigantic word in the dictionary; and how sagely they would deliberate upon public events some months after they had taken place.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Derrick Van Bummel
Related Symbols: The Inn
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're introduced to the "wise man" of the community, Derrick Van Bummel. Derrick claims to be an educated man (although Irving never gives us any real evidence that he is), and spends long hours at the Inn talking about the "news" that he finds in old, discarded newspapers.

The passage does a good job of subtly conveying the disjointedness of life in Rip's community. Rip's town as a whole is isolated from the rest of the world--even when the people get their hands on a newspaper, it's hopelessly out of date. It's as if the entire town operates on a different schedule than the rest of the world. In other words, Rip isn't all that different from his town itself. For the time being, Rip lives in a place that enables his lazy, unproductive, but overall pleasant way of life.


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Derrick Van Bummel Character Timeline in Rip Van Winkle

The timeline below shows where the character Derrick Van Bummel appears in Rip Van Winkle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“Rip Van Winkle”
Tyranny vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Active vs. Passive Resistance Theme Icon
Labor vs. Productivity Theme Icon with his neighbors. Much of the conversation is simple town gossip. But the schoolmaster Derrick Van Bummel is said to have facilitated many a meaningful discussion of politics and current events. He... (full context)