Symbolism In Washington Irving's The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

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Each and every work of art, no matter when or where it appeared, bears an imprint of not just the author’s idea behind their creation, but also the track of the epoch, the broad political, economic and cultural background of the author, usually in cohesion with the whole cluster of other works of art similar in meaning, genre or ideas touched upon. So when discussing the work of Washington Irving “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, let’s firstly have a look at the broader context of this artwork and see how the tendencies of the era are represented in this composition, and secondly conduct a brief analysis of the main character of this work and some of the major themes broached by the author. To begin with, let’s have a look at the epoch when this story was…show more content…
The most prominent of them is, in my opinion, the depiction of nature in this story, its deep symbolism and its constant influence on all the characters. It seems like all the events are backed up by the same or similar in nature – the ball, for example, is accompanied by the birds’ herd gathering singing outside the house, and Ichabod’s chase from the headless rider is copied by dark and haunted the trees around him, moving relentlessly and horrifyingly, etc. This way the nature becomes one of the main protagonists of the story, in a way, as it setts the mode of not only the rest of the characters, but affects the reader as well. Another important theme that is obvious throughout the whole “Legend” is the contrast of natural events and supernatural interpretation of them. That is especially important in the end, when there’s no closure to the whole mystery of what happened to the Ichabod: we can assume that he’s been haunted by the mysterious headless rider’s ghost, but the only evidence is a very real and natural shattered pumpkin, which gives us an opportunity to think to ourselves what really happened

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