"The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" And Ichabod Crane.

1147 words - 5 pages

The Legend of Sleepy HollowWashington IrvingThe town of Sleepy Hollow is described as having a dreamy quality to it. The narrator states it has a "listless repose" (993) and the townspeople are described as being of a "peculiar character" (993). Irving has created the perfect setting for a supernatural experience. The town seems to be "under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; have trances and visions, and see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air" (993).Ichabod Crane is the schoolmaster of the town. He is described as tall and lanky with "narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together" (994). He is also said to have a small, flat head with big eyes and big green eyes with a long nose. Crane is compared to a weather vane and a scarecrow. Due to his appearance the reader views Ichabod as a clownish looking man with questionable intelligence and a meager education. He is ridiculous looking and unduly proud of his educational background. Most likely that background merely consists of being able to read and write.While the title of the story is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," I feel as though that aspect of it, the legend, is hardly addressed. The tale consists mostly of a description of Ichabod Crane and the community of Sleepy Hollow. The legend that the title refers to appears to be the Headless Horseman who, as legend dictates, haunts the town. I find it interesting that the tale is based upon the town itself and the people rather than the legend. The title gives the reader a false impression as to the content of the tale.The opening of the tale describes the town itself while a page and a half in, Ichabod Crane is finally introduced. At that point, the story revolves mostly around describing Ichabod, his school, his life, the townspeople, and very little mention of the headless horseman. How can the tale be about the legend of Sleepy Hollow when the legend is rarely mentioned, and basically down played?Instead of the legend being the focus for Irving, he uses many of his stories as social and political commentary. The story comments on changes occurring in the United States around the period of the American Revolution and in the early 19th century immediately following the Revolution. The tale borrows greatly from German sources; he took the myths of Europe and made them American tales. Irving states that, "Sleepy Hollow is a town where "populations, manners, and customs, remained fixed, while the great torrent of emigration and improvement which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved" (http://www.louisville.edu/~daschu02/ripandsleepy.html). Ichabod is an American outsider in the Dutch community of Sleepy...

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