What is the symbolic importance of Rip Van Winkle’s long sleep to the story as a whole?

Analysis: In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” the title character falls into an enchanted sleep and misses a generation of life and the American Revolution. What is the symbolic importance of Rip Van Winkle’s long sleep to the story as a whole? For this question, please refer to the elements of fiction described in “Writing About Stories”.

The essay should be 2 pages long.
The essay should be double-spaced, use 1-inch margins, and use a standard 12-point font (such as Times New Roman). See an MLA style guide for further details on formatting.
No research is needed for the essay outside of the required readings (although you can refer to the editors’ author and section introductions)
The essay should have an argumentative thesis (it should state a clear claim or viewpoint in answer to the question posed in the prompt).
The writing should be organized, with an introduction, conclusion, and relevant sub-points in the body supported by well-chosen evidence.
It should be polished and free of errors.
Give concrete evidence in all body paragraphs to support your observations, and offer your own comments on each quotation that explain the quotation and show how it supports your argument.