At the foot of the Catskill Mountains of New York was a picturesque village founded by Dutch colonists.
Approaching it, one would see gabled homes with smoke curling up from the chimneys and shingle roofs reflecting the sunlight.
Due to this behavior, it helps the magical event become more believable to the reader.
When his laziness is exaggerated by Dame, him sleeping for twenty years is more plausible than if his laziness wasn’t portrayed in the story.
Most of his friends and family have gone or changed in some particular way.
Lastly, Irving uses setting to create an American mythology.
His only weak point was his inability to work for profit.
It was not that he lacked patience or perseverance; for, as the narrator points out, He would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartars lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble." Moreover, he was always ready to help a neighbor with hard work and frequently ran errands and did odd jobs for housewives.
Dame Van Winkle ceaselessly browbeat Rip for his failings, saying he was bringing the family to ruin.
Rip would shrug and go outside, out of range of her scolding tongue.