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The History Of Sleepy Hollow Essay

1490 words - 6 pages

Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow recounts the unfortunate events of the rise of a ghoulish horseman from the grave reeking havoc on the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Icahbod Crane must find the so-called “ghost” in order to prove his investigational methods worry to the city of New York. Though this tale does not come from any certain historical truth but Burton’s rendition of the story comes from many years ago. Though he does make several artistic decisions that may differ somewhat from the original account, the film is historical because of lasting legend. The headless horseman and Icahbod Crane have made numerous appearances in books, television shows, and other movies over the years, and will continue to have a lasting impact on many forms of entertainment in the years to come.
The legend of Sleepy Hollow is one ranging as far back as the early nineteenth century, originating from Washington Irving’s story collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (1819) (Browne). His story could have came from German folktales about “The Wild Huntsman” who closely mirrored the actions of the horseman in both Irving’s tale and Burton’s film adaptation. In many historical senses, those who saw the horseman “viewed [him] as [an] [omen] of ill fortune,” and for those who “chose to disregard [these] apparitions]” found themselves dead very soon after (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). Instead of decapitating the innocent, the horseman would actually kill the proud, arrogant victims who were not apprehensive enough of the ghoulish nightrider (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). At the time of Irving’s publishing, Americans were facing a time of cultural inferiority and this mythological tale actually had a relatively positive impact on many of them. With his careful attention to detail in describing just the setting of the fantastical town of Sleepy Hollow, people could easily connect his tale to their own homes. Americans now had an artistic treasure as influential as many of the other world leaders that may have cause their feelings of inferiority (Browne). Irving’s unreal horror story exploded upon its release, and will always be cherished as one of the better, more inventive tales about a ghost.
Many have wondered about the possibility of the horseman’s, Ichabod Crane’s, and the town of Sleepy Hollow’s existence at some point in history. Though no one can ever be certain of the origins of Irving’s story that he claims he grew up hearing, the mystery behind its true roots almost make the tale more compelling. For many years, the exact location Irving had in mind for his story was a great topic of interest for many. Finally, most settled on the village of North Tarrytown, New York, Irving’s resting place, to be the setting of “Sleepy Hollow”; though many wanted to believe something else, the town eventually renamed itself to Sleepy Hollow to halt any further controversy (Browne). In fact, local high schools changed their mascot to the Horseman to accommodate/further...

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