Each author sets a gothic tone first and foremost by the techniques used to describe setting and characters. Irving and Hawthorne set their stories in ghostly mysterious forests. Each author uses phenomenal to truly connect the reader with the stories. Hawthorne’s use of similes to tie in what the forest was like gives a sense of letting the readers feel like they are there with young goodman Brown, “ . . . surrounded by four blazing pines, their tops aflame, their stems untouched, like candles at an evening meeting” (Hawthorne 392). Irving uses the same technique to describe some of Ichabod Crane‘s physical attributes, “His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glass eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it might have been mistaken for a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew” (Irving 43). Irving also uses vivid imagery to allow the reader to picture the mystical woods Ichabod is traveling through:
“The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, more...
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...in to this day, that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favourite story often told about the neighbourhood round the winter evening fire” (Irving 61). Both the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Young Goodman Brown” conjure up the unknown, a story that has no ending, which keeps literature fresh always leaving something to be pondered by the reader.
As fresh and entertaining as both authors have kept their stories, it is important to not overlook the underlying literary elements. By comparing how Hawthorne and Irving use an array of figurative language techniques, as well as keep the Gothic style present with supernatural events, in a mystical woodsy setting, the reader is provided a greater understanding of these elements. No matter if the story has a lesson to be learned, or not, each writer maintains the dark romantic theme of man’s soul.
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