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1. The story is about individual freedom. At the beginning, Rip wants to be free to converse with his neighbors and spend time fishing and hunting, but his wife is always nagging him to work on their farm. By the end of the story, Rip's wife is dead and Rip is able to enjoy being free of her tyranny.
2. Nature plays an important role in the story. Rip falls asleep in the middle of a clearing in the forest. This event is what frees him from the tyranny of everyday life because when he awakens, many of the things which bound him are either gone or dead.
3. The supernatural also plays a large role in the story. Evidently, it is the men of explorer Henry Hudson who lure Rip into the hollow of the forest. These men have supposedly been dead a long time, and they never speak to Rip. However, they do motion to him to drink from their liquor and that causes him to fall asleep for 20 years. The supernatural plays a large role in many romantic stories and Rip's story would be impossible unless something supernatural occurs to make it possible for him to sleep for 20 years and survive.
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