If you read Washington Irving's tale of time, Rip Van Winkle, and Mark Twain's story of deceit, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, you will find a ball of fantasy and tall tales with truth and logic buried in the middle. In comparing these two tales, one must look at what exactly a tall tale can contribute and represent. These tales are alike as much as they differ in their structure as well as in their points. They can also be looked at symbolically and representations of our time and the politicians we have trusted throughout history.
To begin, both of the stories express characteristics present in tall tales. These sorts of tales take on imaginative and romantic qualities that are beyond logic. In Rip Van Winkle, the title character goes to sleep for years and wakes up in good health. Now a character sleeping for that long would need some sort of food supplement in order to survive. Tall Tales combine fantasy with sorts of logic in them and this is present in the tale.
[...] The stranger in the town cons Smiley in the frog contest, and the narrator, Mark Twain, is conned by the man in to hearing his unbelievable tale when Twain is looking for fact not fiction. The two tales contain many symbolic characteristics as well. For example in Rip Van Winkle, Rip goes to sleep and awakes a whole new person. Sleep represents an unconscious journey for the character and then when they awaken from this unconscious to conscious state, they have gained insight which turns them into a new person. [...]
[...] You are supposed to be able to learn more from birds than you can from any human being, so Twain placing them in the story represents that Smiley is simply paying attention to which bird will fly away, showing that he does not care about his spirituality and soul searching. On the other hand Rip goes to sleep and awakes changed. Smiley is too concerned about winning and materialistic goods and this is shown through him preferring a bird flying away, rather than lets say, betting on which bird will land first. [...]
[...] This tale is not as clearly a cautionary tale as Rip Van Winkle is, but it can be seen as the moral of it is to beware of who you seek the truth from. Twain's descriptions of the animals caution us to be aware of our trusted political activists. The dog Jackson, when he cannot win anymore, goes off saddened and dies. That sounds like a description of a coward, so under the surface Twain is telling us not to be intimidated by higher leaders who's hearts may sink it at the sight of defeat, just like any average person. [...]
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