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In "Rip van Winkle" what feature of the place seems to be the most memorable?Washington...

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kidcudi96 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM via web

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In "Rip van Winkle" what feature of the place seems to be the most memorable?

Washington Irving

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM (Answer #1)

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With a certain tone of romantic nostalgia, Washington Irving describes the "fairy" Catskill [Kaatskill] Mountains:

...every change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains,....they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky...they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which , in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory. 

Perhaps the most memorable site is the "majestic course" of the "lordly Hudson" River that winds and finally loses itself in the "blue highlands." For, with this scene, Irving conjures the image of Henry Hudson and his crew members reappearing in the form of "a company of odd-looking personages playing at ninepins" in the glen where Van Winkle finds himself. One wonders if these are the men placed in a small boat in the cold Hudson Bay by the mutineers of 1611 who were never heard from again.

This sighting of the little figures who resemble those of an old Flemish painting establishes the magical mood of the narrative as Rip drinks from the large flagons and becomes overpowered by them, falling into his deep sleep of twenty years.

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