Rip Van Winkle


Washington Irving

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Diedrich Knickerbocker

Knickerbocker is the fictional historian who narrates the story of Rip Van Winkle. We learn that Knickerbocker has died shortly after composing this history. Formerly an “old gentleman of New York,” Knickerbocker fostered a… (read full character analysis)

Rip Van Winkle

The protagonist of the story, Rip Van Winkle is a genial, passive man living in a small Dutch province in the Catskills, who spends his time engaging in work that is not useful or profitable… (read full character analysis)

Dame Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle’s wife is a sharp-tongued and nagging woman whose only role in the story is to antagonize and hound her lazy husband, who avoids all domestic duties. Though Dame Van Winkle’s unceasing harassment… (read full character analysis)

Rip Van Winkle, Jr.

The son of protagonist Rip Van Winkle and Dame Van Winkle. Rip Jr. is determined to grow up to be just like his father. The reader sees at the end of the story that he… (read full character analysis)

Derrick Van Bummel

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 He is an educated and articulate man who eagerly participates in earnest discussions of the news contained in old, outdated newspapers with other townspeople at the inn.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… (read full character analysis)
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Nicholas Vedder

Nicholas Vedder is the landlord of the old inn, who sits all day in the shade of a large tree, who speaks very little, and whose opinions are indicated by the way he smokes his… (read full character analysis)

Hendrick Hudson / the crew of the Half Moon

Hudson was a 17th century explorer of the New York metropolitan region, most famous for sailing up the Hudson river (which now takes his name). He was lost at sea after mutineers set him and… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Judith Gardenier
Rip Van Winkle’s daughter, and eventual mother of Rip Van Winkle III. Rip moves in with Judith after his return from the mountain.
Rip Van Winkle III
The grandson of Rip Van Winkle, and the infant child of Judith Gardenier and her husband.
Peter Vanderdonk
The “most ancient” inhabitant of Rip Van Winkle’s village, Peter Vanderdonk is the one person able to recall Rip Van Winkle after his 20-year absence. He corroborates Rip’s story to the townspeople and thereby ends the confusion surrounding Rip’s strange return.
Jonathan Doolittle
The owner of the Union Hotel, the establishment that has taken the place of Nicholas Vedder’s inn after Rip’s return.
Brom Dutcher
A neighbor of Rip Van Winkle. He dies in the Revolutionary War.