Washington Irving- “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820)

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is without a doubt a well known story. Most people know the tale of Ichabod Crane and his encounter with the Headless Horseman. However, I’m sure many of those people know this story from the multiple adaptations of it. The 1999Sleepy Hollow book film, Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp as Ichabod, or the made-for-tv-movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or even most recently the television show, Sleepy Hollow, that premiered last year.

Initially, I had only been familiar with the film from 1999 and had little knowledge about what the story was actually about. It wasn’t until I watched the television show (which I highly recommend) did I sincerly find some understanding of this small town and its residents. Albeit, the television show takes places in present day and Ichabod and his wife Katrina are the only ones who come from the time period the short story takes place in. That being said, there are plenty of things that are changed and added for the television show to work and keep people interested. After all, the story of Ichabod Crane is a short one indeed.

When I finally did read the actual short story, I was surprised at how truly insignificant Ichabod Crane was. He was just a simple man who attended a party, hoped to win the heart of the lovely Katrina Van Tassel and was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he encountered the Horseman. I admire Irving’s ability it get straight to the point. He gave enough back story on the superstition of the Horseman that the audience would be intrigued and would wonder if the tales were actually true. In fact, Irving made it seem as though the encounter with the Horseman wasn’t really all that important. It was just something that happened in this small town and choosing to believe in him or not was one’s own business. Ichabod was the real story and his fate was just that, his fate. Whether we ever find out what truly happened to him that night is whole different story.

Verdict: 11/12


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