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What are some symbols in "Rip Van Winkle"?

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crystal88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 13, 2008 at 3:45 PM via web

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What are some symbols in "Rip Van Winkle"?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 14, 2008 at 11:24 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the most mysterious persons in the story is a man who carries a keg up a mountain and asks Rip to help. Rip notices that he is dressed as a 17th century Dutchman. When they arrive in a meadow, one of the men is addressed as "Commander". It is after that scene that Rip drinks some of the liquor and falls asleep for 20 years. So, who were those people and who was the commander? After Rip awakens, someone tells him that the ghost of Henry Hudson, who discovered the New York area where the story takes place, comes back every 20 years to haunt the place. This implies that the men were part of Hudson's crew and the commander was the ghost of Hudson, a symbol of adventure and discovery. Rip certainly has an adventure and discovers much about the future after he wakes up.


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