Favoritism in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


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Favoritism in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

 

In Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" he has two main characters, Ichabod Crane and Bram Bones.  These two heroic characters both desire the same woman, Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a substantial Dutch farmer.  Apart from the fact that they both yearn for the same woman these two men are completely different creatures.  In "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", Washington Irving does not hide the fact that he clearly favors Ichabod Crane over Brom Bones.

 

Ichabod Crane is a somewhat geeky tall lanky man.  He is a highly educated schoolmaster who travels from home to home teaching young children.  "Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex".  He clearly doubts himself with the ladies and appears to be a rather insecure character throughout the narrative.

 

On the other hand, Ichabod Crane's adversary Bram Bones is quite the opposite.  Bram Bones is a rather large robust burly and somewhat arrogant man.  He is well known for his "feats of strength and hardihood.  He is a confident man who expects his advances on a lady to be reciprocated.  Bram Bones traveled with his gang of friends whereas Ichabod Crane seemed to be a loner who traveled by himself.   

 

Interestingly, both men were well known for there knowledge and skill in their own trades.  Nevertheless, even their choice of vocation couldn't be more contrary. Bram Bones was known for his great knowledge and skill in horsemanship.  His profession was a hands on job requiring great physical strength.  Later in the story we learn that Ichabod lacks the necessary skills to ride a horse very well.  Conversely, Ichabod Crane was clearly known for his knowledge and great wisdom.  He was respected for his informative accounts of witch craft and the legendary superstitions such as the headless horseman.

 

In terms of the author's favorite character, Washington is not shy about letting the reader know favoritism is undoubtedly towards Ichabod Crane.  At one point in the story Washington states, "I should in the true spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed".

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  The narrator portrays Brom Bones as a man who likes 'vicious animals' and thrives on risk taking.  Whereas, Ichabod Crane is depicted as a "thankful creature, whose heart dilated in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer; and whose spirit rose with eating as some men's do with drink".  Essentially, it is Ichabod Crane that becomes the character in which the author represents as good and a kind hearted soul.  I believe he was successful as I clearly favored Ichabod Crane over Brom Bones.      

       


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