75 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Introduction

legend-of-sleepy-hollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow was first published in 1820. At this point in Irving’s life he was a well known author for his writings and was becoming family famous. He drew connections with the story from German folklore from his heritage and from other people in his life. While the story was meant to be of a tale and for general amusement, it did have some historical influence into its writing. It was written after the war of 1812, the story tells of a man who’s superstition tends to get carried away and his own sins with greed get caught up into his troubles that eventually leads to his disappearance. In this time in history people had large fears of religion catching up with their sins and actions. Irving explores this with a whimsical tale of how our fears can get the best of us. Almost making fun of people and their over active imaginations.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow falls under the genre of speculative fiction. This genre is described as science fiction, fantasy, and horror. This is clearly seen throughout the text with the use of the headless horseman and the mysterious disappearance of the main character Ichabod Crane. However, it is intended to be some what scary but still offer a lighthearted atmosphere. This whimsical story telling is very common with other writers as well. Nathaniel Hawthorne was greatly influence by Irving and he also brings a dark element of story telling of our own fears to life as a way of making fun of or exploring how we view our selves in society. This is seen largely in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown. 

The text as a short story is overall one of the most famous short stories in American Literature of all time because it is still very well known today with its many different adaptations. Irving brings  his unique touch to his main character again like with what we see in his other short story of Rip Van Winkle of an antihero. We see how the fall of man occurs with those who allow their sins and imagination get the best of them and it brings a touch of fear to what becomes the most famous American folklore known today.

Works Cited:

Irving, Washington. “Short Stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.” Short Stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. N.p., 2015. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

“Washington Irving.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Summary – ENotes.com.” Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Summary.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 2008. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.



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