Certain characters in “Rip Van Winkle” and “Alice Doanes Appeal” (i.e., the narrator) take on the role of providing their contemporaries with an “historical consciousness.” How? Why?

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Certain writers in the 19th century who wanted to deal with american themes bemoaned the thinness of american history, the lack of a “usable past” for literary purposes. nevertheless Irving (an antiquarian) and then Hawthorne (an amateur historian) managed to make good literary use of the history of their nation, both Revolutionary and earlier Colonial times. Certain characters in “Rip Van Winkle” and “Alice Doanes Appeal” (i.e., the narrator) take on the role of providing their contemporaries with an “historical consciousness.” How? Why?

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