I would like for us to focus on another aspect that has stirred important interpretation in recent years, especially by scholar Sarah Wyman. I want us to pay attention to two things as we read “Rip Van Winkle”: time and identity. Rip doesn’t just leave his home, nap for twenty years, and then return home with a few things changed. He leaves a British colony and returns to the United States of America. He may have only traveled a few miles, but he leaves one country only to return to another. When he wakes up and returns, he doesn’t recognize anything, even himself. He says he doesn’t know who he is. He doesn’t recognize his children. He can’t understand the signs he sees. In essence, Rip returns and his initial experience is not to rejoice in the independence of the new nation but to experience bewilderment and anxiety over its meaning.

Here is your prompt:

I want you to think about the story in general and Rip’s anxiety upon returning, specifically, in its connection to the past and what the Revolutionary War meant for the United States. It meant independence from Britain, yes, but it also meant independence from Britain’s cultural history, its mythology, its folklore, etc. Here is the real question: what does a country need — what does the national psyche of the people need — in order to know itself? In order to have an identity? In order to be stable and confident in who its people are and what it embodies? How does the character of Rip try to get at those questions, and what does Irving suggest through Rip?
https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/171/american-short-fiction/3461/rip-van-winkle/ please read this

Rip Van Winkle