Sunday Salon: Short Story Focus

The Sunday
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- Washington Irving

I love Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, and for a long time, I've wanted to read the story it was based on. I enjoy creepy stories, and this one didn't let me down.

Ichabod Crane is the schoolmaster at Sleepy Hollow, a small glen on the edge of Tarry Town, a common traveller's haunt. He also courts the local beauty Katrina Van Tassel, for the attentions of whom he competes with country hero Brom Bones. Sleepy Hollow has an enduring legend, that of the Headless Horseman, one which the superstitious Ichabod finds fascinating. When fiction becomes fact, it has some unpleasant consequences for the schoolmaster.

The short story is completely different from the movie, as Burton had retained only the bare skeleton of the story. The writing is very descriptive, but its archaic nature meant that it was full of words I didn't know; I kept referring to Free Dictionary. That was good, because my vocabulary has improved so much through this short story. I enjoyed Irving's detailed descriptions; I found his elaborate character sketch of Ichabod a very nice read. The ending is left open, but you can make a very good guess as to what Ichabod's fate could be.

[Ichabod's] only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, to contend with and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and brass, and walls of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of his heart was confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas pie; and then the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were forever presenting new difficulties and impediments; and he had to encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood, the numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her heart, keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the common cause against any new competitor.

Have you read any of Washington Irving's work? How did you find it?

And here are this week's giveaways.
The 3R's Blog is giving away an ARC package in celebration of her 1000th post, open till October 14
The Book Butterfly is giving away Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev till November 6
Alaine-Queen of Happy Endings is giving away Unbound, a collection of paranormal short stories till October 17
Savvy Verse&Wit is giving away Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal till October 16

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5 Responses
  1. Petty Witter Says:

    Though not generally a fan of the short story, I made an exceptio9n for this after watching the DVD and was so pleased I did.

  2. Amanda Says:

    I read this in either late middle school or early high school, but barely remember it. I need to go back and reread it.

  3. JoAnn Says:

    This is the second mention of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow I've seen in as many weeks...really must read it!

  4. Megan Says:

    For as much as I've heard about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I've never actually read it. Might be a fun thing to do before Halloween!

  5. Dani in NC Says:

    "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is like "Frankenstein" for me. I've watched several adaptations of the story, but I've never read the original. I remember it being required reading in some schools, though.

    (BTW, your Monday Movie posts have given me a few suggestions. I've watched a few Indian movies, but I'm always looking for more good ones.)

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