Custom Research Paper Writing
End Paper Writing Worries

Call us today to learn more:


  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Free Plagiarism Check
  • Writing at Your Level
  • Native US Degreed Writers

Order Here

Rip Van Winkle and Walden Research Papers

One way to approach works of literature on nature is to compare and contrast them. Below is a topic suggestion for a research paper to compare and contrast Washington Irving’s Rip van Winkle and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.  Both of these works involve the theme of escaping from the conditions of ordinary life, but they differ greatly in the following ways:

  • The works differ in tone
  • Rip Van Winkle and Walden differ in purpose
  • Rip Van Winkle does not require the level of emotional maturity that Walden does

Irving was witty, intelligent, and very much a man of the world--a man who identified with theRip Van Winkle and Walden English upper middle class and with the world as it is--and he takes the theme of escape and uses it to create a humorous fantasy that is gently suggestive of what he wishes to show, the need of some people who are not well suited to their world to find an alternative.  Thoreau, by contrast, was a passionate man, an alienated visionary determined to promote his cause with a prophetic voice. His prose—direct, serious, and forceful—attempts to compel his readers to adopt a view of the world that agrees with his own. To read Irving’s story and then read Thoreau’s Walden is to go from a world of quiet, loving mockery of the flaws of men and women into a world where the prevailing economics, politics, and morals are under sharp attack. Irving was comfortable in the world as given while Thoreau wanted it changed. That is one difference between the two. Another is, quite frankly, a difference in the their emotional maturity.  Irving was, I submit, an adult, while Thoreau was, as someone once called him, “a perennial adolescent”.

There is nothing forceful or passionate in Irving’s story.  But neither is it bland.  Indeed there is a certain sharpness to it, but that sharpness derives from Irving’s wit and not from the elements of the story itself.  This is, after all, as Bowden points out, a tale of financial failure. A Thoreau would have written it much differently, would have, I suspect, filled it with sentiment and an explicit condemnation of the status quo.  But Rip Van Winkles sharpness derives from Irving’s shrewd cynicism with respect to human beings, a shrewdness often expressed in one or two simple lines, e.g., “…those men are most apt to be most obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home…” and, “The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor….”  It is necessary that this sharpness be there.  Without it the story would be too sweet, too purely a child’s fairy-tale.  With it we have what the story is, a humorous commentary on the world by a sophisticated observer of that world.

Related Research Paper Topics

Cynics - Cynics research papers examine the ancient school of philosophy in Greece and Rome who practiced cynicism, in which the purpose of life was to live in agreement with nature and follow virtue.

The Devil and Tom Walker - The Devil and Tom Walker research papers examine the short story written by American author Washington Irving.

Walden Two research papers discuss B.F. Skinner's approach to the concept of utopia in society.

Emerson and Thoreau - Research papers on Emerson and Thoreau show that Ralph Waldo Emerson spurred on the career of Henry David Thoreau as a friend, environmentalist and transcendentalist.

Doctoral Development Plan - Learn How to Write Doctoral Development Plans with Paper Masters.

Civil Disobedience Thoreau - Civil Disobedience and Thoreau essays examine an essay written by one of the great American writers of the 19th century.

Arctic Dreams - Arctic Dreams Research Papers explores a book by Barry Lopez about one of the most fascinating places on earth to him, the North American Arctic.

Looking Backward - Edward Bellamy’s book “Looking Backward”, written in 1887, was the first Utopian novel of its kind.

Romantic Era - Romantic Era Research Papers inspect the writings of different authors during this period.

English Utopia Fiction - English Utopia Fiction Research Papers delve into an example of how to order a literature paper for undergraduates.

Skinner - B.F. Skinner research papers examine the American psychologist and proponent of the school of behaviorism.

Division Labor - Division of Labor research papers discuss the labor strategy, employed during the early development of the Industrial Revolution, where individuals perform specific tasks and take on various roles.

American Renaissance - American Renaissance research papers examine the time period in American history, frequently dated between 1876 and 1917.

Transcendentalism - Transcendentalism research papers examine a 19th century American philosophical and religious movement that emerged out of Romanticism.

Emerson Slavery - Emerson and Slavery research papers explain how Emerson was an abolitionist during the days of slavery.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow research papers look into the American poet who is best remembered for the patriotic Paul Revere’s Ride.

Romanticism - Romanticism research papers examine the movement that encompassed all of the arts during the first half of the 19th century.

Short Stories - Short Stories essays discuss the form of literature that generally encapsulates a single episode or self-contained incident with a smaller cast of characters.

American Dream in Literature - American Dream in Literature essays examine rags-to-riches story theme in major works such as The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman.

Civil Disobedience and Thoreau essays examine an essay written by one of the great American writers of the 19th century.

Ralph Waldo Emerson - Ralph Waldo Emerson essays examine the American writer known as one of the leading figures of the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century.

The Aarne Thompson Classification of Folk Tales - The Aarne Thompson Classification of Folk Tales is a system provided for the indexing of folktales by type and motif.