Textual Analysis of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”1.) Romantic Description:a. pg. 715 – “there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just a murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility.
“Irving describes nature as an untouchable force. He ignores the realism of nature and reveals only the beauty it holds. It is the stereotypical description of Mother Nature. Irving makes it sound so tranquil as if this place doesn’t exist in this world.c. pg 731 – “Its limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large enough to form trunks of ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air.Order now
The tree is almost created into somewhat of a creature. With the limbs twisting out and rising into the air. Irving takes ordinary earthlike objects and changes the perspective of them into imaginary matter.2.) Avoidance of Controversy/Digressions:a. pg 717 – “.
some little, tough, wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he called “doing his duty by their parents;” and he never inflicted a chastisement without following it by the assurance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin, which “he would remember it, and thank him for it the longest day he had to live.” When school hours were over.”Irving constantly made fun of the Dutch, and this is one of those examples. He calls them wrong-headed and mocks their appearance by criticizing their broad-skirted dress. Then to avoid the controversy he changes the subject and goes straight into the next thing.
b. pg 728 – “The musician was an old gray headed Negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the neighborhood for more than half a century. His instrument was as old and battered as himself.”Here, Irving tries to avoid the subject of slavery and human rights. He tries to stay neutral on the issue. He described the black man as battered and old showing the inequality of the two races, in a sense avoiding the whole slavery situation during that time period.
3.) American Character Types: a. pg 722. .cts women as a bit lazy because in the passage they jut sit around talking, eating, and having a good time and have no work to do. Therefore, implying that men do all the work and the women just lounge around.
8.) Use of American History:a. pg 719 – “He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather’s history of New England Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed.Irving refers to an actual historical event by mentioning that Ichabod was a firm believer in Cotton Mathers writing about the Salem witch trials. Irving is pretty accurate because it is actually a real book and was commonly read. He references to the literary works of the time and the thoughts that people had about the world during the time.
b. pg 728 – ;The British and American line had run near it during the war; it had, therfore, been the scene of marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds of border chivalry.;Irving does use an historical American setting, America and the British were engaged in war at the time and had battles around that.