A former sociology teacher in a country somewhere in southeastern Europe, this character was imprisoned there after participating in its own communist revolution and spent 20 years in prison. After being released, he came to Russia (or the unnamed country where the novel is set) but soon enough was arrested—No. 402 conjectures that things simply might have changed too much in so much time. No. 406 occupies the cell next to Rubashov and often seems distracted, even mad: he’s also referred to as “Rip Van Winkle,” referring to a Washington Irving short story about a man who falls asleep and wakes up decades later to discover an entirely new world.
No. 406 (Rip Van Winkle) Character Timeline in Darkness at Noon
The timeline below shows where the character No. 406 (Rip Van Winkle) appears in Darkness at Noon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Second Hearing: 4
The Second Hearing: 5
...tells him the regulations, including the prohibition on conversation. Then he opens the door of No. 406: Rip Van Winkle is wearing black boots and frayed (but neat) trousers, his face covered with gray stubble.... (full context)
The Third Hearing: 2