Washington Irving and His Works
Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 in Tarrytown, New York. His
father was a merchant and owned an import business. Irving had literary
influences early in his life. He was friends with Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, and Charles Dickens. Washington Irving had no formal schooling.
Instead, he taught himself by reading as many books as possible.
Washington Irving had other interests than just writing. Irving was an
inventor. He invented ice drinks and the dumb waiter. Irving was also an
entrepreneur. "Early in his life Irving planned to follow his father's
footsteps in the family business." (p. 187)
Irving had many writings in his literary career. His works include The
Sketchbook, A History of New York, The Devil and Tom Walker, and Rip Van Winkle.
Despite all of these well known works, Irving never won any awards. Irving's
short stories are The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Devil and Tom Walker.
The first semblance in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Devil and Tom
Walker is that nature proves to be a problem to the characters. In The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow, the hollow is the setting for fear in Icabod's tall tales.
Irving reflected on the dark setting many times in this story. "The swamp was
thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks." (Washington Irving. p. 57)
In The Devil and Tom Walker, the setting is portrayed in the same dark manner.
It is the forest where Tom Walker meets the Devil.
Another similarity in both of the "short stories" is that a supernatural
figure is the terror of each story. The supernatural being in The Legend of
Sleepy Hollow is the Headless Horsemen. To the people of Tarrytown, the story
of the Headless Horsemen is that he was a Hessian soldier that had his head shot
off by a cannon ball. The...